The National Health Service (NHS) provides free hospital treatment for people who live lawfully in the United Kingdom only.
If you do not normally live in this country, or you cannot confirm you are a lawful settled UK resident, and you do not meet one of the exemptions from charges criteria, you will have to pay for any treatment you need. This is regardless of your nationality; whether you hold a British passport; have previously lived in the UK, have paid National Insurance and taxes in the UK in the past; own property in the UK or have been issued with an HC2 certificate.
What happens if I need to attend the accident and emergency department (A&E)?
You will not be charged for treatment that you receive in the A&E department. However, this does not include emergency treatment given in any other department in the hospital, which will include;
- If you are operated upon
- If you are admitted to an inpatient ward
- If you are allocated an outpatient appointment.
How can I prove that I am entitled to free hospital treatment?
For you to receive free hospital treatment, you will need to provide evidence that you are legally living within the UK. All patients treated at this hospital, whatever their nationality and living status, are required to provide correct information when registering their details. If you are living in the UK on a lawful settled basis then you should be prepared to provide evidence.
How will I know if I have to pay?
The Overseas Visitors Manager can provide you with more detailed information if you are unsure whether you are entitled to free hospital treatment. You will be asked to provide evidence of entitlement – they will advise you of what documents are acceptable.
Accessing health services
The information available on the link below explains more about the rules and exemptions, and whether you need to pay for NHS treatment.
EU and EEA (European Economic Area) visitors
European visitors must show their European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) otherwise they may have to pay for NHS treatment.
The UK can claim reimbursement for the cost of providing healthcare to visitors from other European Economic Area (EEA) states or Switzerland under the EU Regulations. This entitlement under the EU Regulations will normally be established by production of the relevant EEA healthcare document (EHIC, PRC, S2 or S1), which confirms that the holder is covered for their health costs by the country of issue.
Non EEA patients
You may be asked to confirm you have Indefinite Leave to Remain as your residence permit to live in the UK, or have another kind of settled visa (more than 6 months in length), and have paid the Health Surcharge to the Home Office. Find out more on the Gov.uk website
If you are in the UK with a visit visa, whilst lawfully here, you will not be considered a settled UK resident and will be required to pay.
Resident in a Non EEA country that has a Bilateral Health Agreement with the UK
If you are usually resident in: Anguilla; Australia; Bosnia and Herzegovina; British Virgin Islands; Falkland Islands; Gibraltar; Isle of Man; Jersey; Kosovo; Macedonia; Montenegro; Montserrat; New Zealand; Serbia; St Helena; Turks and Caicos Islands; then you may not have to pay for all of your care. We will ask you to confirm residence in the overseas country, or that you are a national of the country – The Overseas Visitor Manager will advise what evidence you need to provide and what care is covered.
If I am not eligible for free treatment, what will I have to pay for?
You will be charged for any treatment given to you by any member of staff in any of our services, both in the hospital or in the community.
Exceptions may apply under certain circumstances, but we will discuss this with you if it applies to you.
If you are confirmed by the clinical team as seeking routine and planned NHS hospital care, you will be expected to pay in advance to the full estimate of care before you have the care. If you cannot pay for routine and planned care in advance, then we will not be able to give you the care, and will return your case to your GP, or the referring clinician.
Current regulations guide
The information available on the link below is a general guide and does not provide a full summary of the current regulations.
Contact us for further information
To prove your entitlement, contact our Overseas Visitors Manager who is available Monday to Friday, from 8.30am to 5pm.
They can be contacted as follows:
Telephone: +44 (0)1634 835665 or +44 (0)1634 830000 extension 6725. Please leave a voice message if no one is available to take your call.
Post: Overseas Visitors Department, Medway NHS Foundation Trust, Residence 10, Windmill Road, Gillingham ME7 5NY
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