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Britain To Charge Visitors And Migrants For Medical Services

02 Jan 2014


Immigration News

The National Health Service (NHS) of Great Britain will start charging foreign visitors, including overseas migrants and tourists for medical services under new rules which are intended to tackle the exploitation of the free healthcare system.

Around the world, the NHS is renowned for providing basic free healthcare to everyone. However, by March 2014, when the Government of the United Kingdom will lay out detailed plans on the way foreign migrants and visitors will be charged for medical services, this will change.

The goal of this move is tackling health tourism, especially by the increasing number of visitors from nearby countries of European Union.

Though the A&E (Accidents and Emergency) department will still be accessible to everyone in an emergency, for overseas patients, there will be a bill to pay at a later point.

As part of a government consultation, there are other changes that were planned which include extending the payment for prescriptions to foreign visitors, and asking them to pay more for services that are subsidized for patients who are entitled to NHS care, like dental and optical services.

Initiating a new system of recording ad identifying patients who must be charged for NHS services is also being planned.

Consultations with Nurses and GPs (General Practitioners) will continue to be free, which the UK government believes will decrease the risks to public health like TB, sexually transmitted infections and HIV.

Lord Howe, the Health Minister said that having a free global health service at the point of use truly makes Britain the envy of the world, but it must be ensured that the system is reasonable to the hardworking taxpayers of the UK who fund it.

He added they understand that they need to make modifications across the NHS to better recognize and charge migrants and visitors, and the first step to achieving this is initiating payment at primary care.

Howe said that they are already looking at taking action and this year they will set out their detailed plans to tighten up on the abuse of their NHS.

The announcement is made after the revelation of a Department of Health study that estimated a recovery of up to 500 million pounds from foreign migrants’ and visitors’ use of the NHS every year.


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