Guidance

Overseas NHS visitors: implementing the charging regulations

Information for NHS bodies who need to make and recover hospital charges from overseas visitors.

Documents

Guidance on implementing the overseas visitor charging regulations

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Details

Help and advice on the implementation of the National Health Service (Charges to Overseas Visitors) Regulations 2015, which have been amended most recently by the National Health Service (Charges to Overseas Visitors) (Amendment) Regulations 2017.

Published 1 August 2018
Last updated 10 February 2020 + show all updates
  1. Updated with information on healthcare access during the transition period and added novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV) to the list of exempt services in chapter 4.

  2. Updated to clarify how the charging regulations will change if the UK leaves the EU without a deal. These changes are throughout the document but mainly in chapter 9. Updates have also been made to guidance on the use of e-gates by certain non-EU citizens (chapter 5), the interviewing of patients who may lack mental capacity (chapter 11) and transplant/organ donation rules (chapter 13).

  3. Document updated with the following changes: Changing the term 'NHS services' to 'relevant services' and 'NHS charges' to 'charges for relevant services'. Further clarification of how to determine whether a service is a 'relevant service'. Clarification that relevant bodies should take reasonable steps to investigate a patient's claim that an exemption applies, where there is a lack of evidence. Addition that, as of the 8 January 2019 an increase in the health surcharge to £400 per year per applicant, with a discounted rate of £300. Clarification that a greater range of treatment should be regarded as urgent in cases where overseas visitors are unlikely to leave the UK in the near future. Clarification of the circumstances in which termination of pregnancy services may be considered to be urgent. Clarification that issues relating to charging must never prevent or delay a patient being assessed by a clinician. Addition of a reciprocal healthcare agreement with Denmark for visitors from the Faroe Islands. Clarification that the transfer of a patient to a new provider should not be delayed on the basis that their chargeable status has not yet been determined. Clarification of the complaints procedure relevant bodies should have. Clarification that a written-off debt remains in the relevant body's records. Removal of the addendum publicising the review of the National Health Service (Charges to Overseas Visitors) (Amendment) Regulations 2017.

  4. Change made to the date in paragraphs 13.32 and 13.45. Since 23 October 2017 relevant bodies should only be using the risk-share agreement with commissioners in the case of treatment said by clinicians to be immediately necessary or urgent. Changes also made to the contact details for the Visitor and Migrant NHS Cost Recovery Programme on page 2.

  5. First published.