Hospital treatment is free to people who ordinarily live in the United Kingdom.
However, if you do not normally live in the UK you may be required to pay for treatment you receive, regardless of whether you are a British citizen or have lived or worked here in the past.
Revised regulations covering the identification and charging of overseas patients were introduced by the Department of Health to stop visitors and people who have had a request to asylum declined from receiving free treatment in hospitals.
It states patients who are not entitled to free care should pay for any treatment received. In order to identify possible overseas patients, anyone attending hospital for a new course of treatment will be asked to provide proof of residency and identity.
The revised regulations ensure that the identification of overseas patients is a fair process. These regulations place an obligation on NHS trusts to identify if people using NHS services are normally resident in the UK. If they are not, then the Trust is obliged to charge for any treatment provided. It is the traveller’s responsibility to have adequate travel insurance to cover the duration of their stay in the UK. We are trying to protect the Trust’s resources for people who are entitled to NHS care.
Some NHS services are provided free of charge, regardless of the status of the patient. These are:
Treatment provided in the Accident and Emergency Department is free to any person from overseas if they have had an accident or developed a serious condition whilst in the UK.
If a patient is admitted for treatment or requires outpatient follow up treatment then they may need to pay for this treatment. All overseas patients will be asked to complete an Overseas Visitors Questionnaire to determine their entitlement to NHS healthcare and provide proof of identity, i.e. passport, visa etc.
Overseas Visitors are advised to have travel insurance that covers the costs of medical treatment in case this situation arises.
European Union visitors
Visitors from the European Union should present their European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) when receiving treatment to demonstrate their eligibility to receive free treatment.
- Family planning services
- Certain diseases where treatment is necessary to stop the condition spreading to the wider public
- Treatment given to people detained under the Mental Health Act 1983
- Treatment given for mental health problems as part of a court probation order
There are also specific circumstances when patients will be exempt from paying charges, for instance, people who are visiting from a country with which the UK holds a reciprocal agreement.
Translation and sign language service
Yeovil District Hospital NHS Foundation Trust is committed to ensuring that non-English speakers, patients whose first language is not English and disabled/deaf people receive the support and information they need to access services, communicate with healthcare staff and make informed decisions about their care and treatment.
Please approach any of the doctors, nurses or other staff treating you and ask for help with translation/English sign language. All staff in our hospital are responsible for recognising your need for interpretation services.
For more information on eligibility to NHS treatment and Home Office queries visit the Department of Health website