Information for overseas visitors
NHS hospital treatment is not free for everyone. If you are visiting the United Kingdom (UK) or you are not an ordinary UK resident and require treatment in our hospitals, you may have to pay for your treatment. Please contact the Hospital Overseas Visitors Team to obtain estimated costs or to check your NHS eligibility.
An overseas patient is someone who is not ordinarily resident in the UK and does not permanently live in the UK. If you are visiting the UK or have lived outside the UK in last 12 months, you may have to pay for the NHS hospital treatment whilst you are here. This is regardless of whether you are a British Citizen, born in the UK, have an NHS number, have National Insurance Number, have property in the UK, currently paying tax, have paid tax in the past or have lived or worked here in the past.
A person does not become ordinarily resident in the UK and entitled to free NHS treatment simply by:
- Having an NHS number;
- Having British nationality;
- Holding a British passport;
- Being registered with a GP;
- Owning property in the UK;
Paying or previously paying National Insurance contributions and taxes in this
Whether a person is ordinarily resident is based on a number of factors which will be taken into account and evidence required.
Some visitors to the UK are entitled to NHS hospital treatment free of charge. These include people working for UK-based employers and who have paid Health Surcharge (typically on a six month plus Visa, shorter terms are not exempt) or or who are covered under certain Reciprocal Agreements.
NHS hospitals have a duty to identify and charge overseas patients for hospital treatment they receive. Hospitals are required to check documentary evidence of entitlement to prove that you are ordinarily resident in the UK.
Treatment deemed immediately necessary or urgent is provided to any patient, even if they have not paid in advance or are able to document to show they are exempt however, not urgent treatment may result in a deposit being charged prior to appointment. Inline with the UK Charging Regulations patients with outstanding debts are reported to the Home Office and payments are collected through the Debt Collector Agencies and it may affect their UK Visa status or entry to the UK.
In order to assist patients, data we hold about you may be used to assist identification of potential chargeable patients; the use of your data in this way will not affect your chargeability status.
For more information please contact a member of the overseas visitors team Lemmise via email swft.
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You can call 111 when you need medical help fast, but it's not a 999 emergency. NHS111 is available 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. Calls are free from landlines and mobile phones in England.