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Letter from LMC to ministers regarding overseas patients

Bedfordshire and Herts LMC sent a letter to the immigration minister, the health secretary and local MPS asking them to consider proposals to make overseas patients prove their eligibility for free primary health care or face charges

Read the letter here

Read the news story here

Readers' comments (2)

  • The concept of Free treatment is unique to the UK. The rule should be simple. If you have an NHS number you get treatment if you dont - you dont. Ethics dont have to come into the equation as there is a perfectly valid alternative. Pay. This happens in every other country and is an accepted means of seeing a doctor. The problem with free is that it has no value.

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  • Regrettably, Neil Tallant, it's not that easy to say that having an NHS number entitles you to treatment. The rules governing GP registration for primary care are currently so lax that anyone from anywhere in the world can effectively register with a GP and get an NHS number. The guidelines for secondary care are a little more robust in that hospitals are obliged by law to identify, charge, and recover costs from overseas visitors where no exemptions apply,. Unfortunately also, charging someone and getting the money back are two different matters, which is why the NHS is haemorrhaging money to overseas visitors who obtain treatment (often by having provided an NHS number) and then do not pay when charged. Access to the NHS is based on residency, not NI contributions. An overhaul of the system and access in general is long due for an overhaul.

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