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Will I be Entitled to NHS Treatment?

By: Louise Smith, barrister - Updated: 12 Jul 2018 | comments*Discuss
 
Will I Be Entitled To Nhs Treatment?

Q.

I would like to know more about giving birth in UK. I am not a British Citizen and do not live in the UK however I am married to a British citizen.

I am planning to come to UK prior to my delivery but I would like to know if I will be entitled to receive NHS treatment or will I have to pay for private care?

(Mrs Shahira Hashem, 6 November 2008)

A.

Eligibility for Free NHS Treatment

Entitlement to free NHS treatment in the UK is based on the country of residence and not citizenship. The general rule is that all UK residents are entitled to free treatment. It is up to the hospital administering the treatment to ensure that the patient is eligible for free healthcare.

The test to be applied for eligibility is whether the individual seeking treatment is ordinarily resident in the UK – in other words that they are in the UK legally and are settled there. If the test is satisfied there is no minimum qualifying period of residence before an individual becomes eligible for free treatment.

Categories of Treatment Which are Free to Everyone

Some types of treatment are available to everyone for free, even if they would not ordinarily be eligible for free NHS healthcare. These include:
  • Treatment given in a hospital accident and emergency department or similar treatment administered by an NHS walk-in centre;
  • Family planning services;
  • Compulsory treatment for a psychiatric disorder.
  • Treatment for some contagious diseases – but different rules apply to AIDS/HIV;
Although family planning services are included in this list maternity services are not.

Eligibility for NHS Treatment for Overseas Residents

Some overseas residents may still be entitled to free NHS treatment.

Citizens of the EU, the European Economic Area or Switzerland - or of countries who have a reciprocal agreement with the UK regarding healthcare - may be entitled to free NHS treatment even if they are not resident in the UK. However, eligibility under this category will not generally apply if the overseas resident came to the UK knowing that they needed medical care. The exception is if they were specifically referred to the UK for treatment under a reciprocal agreement.

You say that you do not live in the UK but are coming to the country prior to the birth. If it is your intention to remain in the UK as a resident after the birth and have permission to do so, either in your own right or as a result of your husband’s citizenship, you are likely to be entitled to free NHS treatment.

If your intention is to come to the UK solely to give birth and then return to your country of residence you are unlikely to be entitled to free NHS treatment. You may still be treated in an NHS hospital - but as a private patient. If you presented at an NHS hospital in labour, you would almost certainly receive treatment without having to pay for it in advance. However, if you were deemed ineligible for free treatment the hospital would be obliged to pursue you for payment afterwards.

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[Add a Comment]
MK - Your Question:
Hello,I would like to ask about giving birth in UK. I was born in UK in 1987 and I had been living until 1991; then my family moved. My parents, siblings and I all have British citizenship. We had been UK for holidays periodically. Lastly I went to UK a year ago. My question is; when I decided to have a baby, do I have a right to give a birth in England as free and make my baby to have a British citizenship?Thank you for your help.

Our Response:
As the answer below, within the UK, free NHS treatment is provided on the basis of someone being classed as ‘ordinarily resident’. You can see more via the link here , which should help further answer your question.
AboutImmigration - 13-Jul-18 @ 9:27 AM
Hello, I would like to ask about giving birth in UK. I was born in UK in 1987 and I had been living until 1991; then my family moved. My parents, siblings and I all have British citizenship.We had been UK for holidays periodically. Lastly I went to UK a year ago. My question is; when I decided to have a baby, do I have a right to give a birth in England as free and make my baby to have a British citizenship? Thank you for your help.
MK - 12-Jul-18 @ 8:09 AM
Leo - Your Question:
Me and my wife are not UK citizen.Recently the company I work for has decided to transfer me to work on our London office.Me and my wife will be receiving the proper visas to reside and work on the UK.My question is regarding my wife. She's a patient diagnosed with multiple sclerosis on its earlier stage and currently receives treatment in Brazil.With our move to London, it would be hard to continue treatment in Brazil.I wonder if she may be eligible to receive treatment in England or if the fact of being an immigrant automatically makes her not fit to receive treatment.

Our Response:
As @TJ says, within the UK, free NHS treatment is provided on the basis of someone being classed as ‘ordinarily resident’. You can see more via the link here , which should help further answer your question.
AboutImmigration - 6-Jul-18 @ 9:29 AM
@Leo - NHS treatment is available to all legal residents of the UK whether or not you are a British citizen.
TJ. - 5-Jul-18 @ 2:12 AM
Me and my wife are not UK citizen. Recently the company I work for has decided to transfer me to work on our London office. Me and my wife will be receiving the proper visas to reside and work on the UK. My question is regarding my wife. She's a patient diagnosed with multiple sclerosis on its earlier stage and currently receives treatment in Brazil. With our move to London, it would be hard to continue treatment in Brazil. I wonder if she may be eligible to receive treatment in England or if the fact of being an immigrant automatically makes her not fit to receive treatment.
Leo - 4-Jul-18 @ 11:34 PM
If a patient is British andlives in Prague and has a family history of glaucoma does the patient qualify for a NHS sight test
Opticians - 3-Jul-18 @ 3:30 PM
@Tedda - Your grandchildren will not be entitled to free services under the NHS if they are not habitually resident in the UK. Free services under the NHS does not depend on one's citizenship status but on their residency status in the UK.
TJ. - 5-Jun-18 @ 10:56 AM
Tedda - Your Question:
My two grand children aged 5 & 8yrs are Italian residents and both hold British passports are coming to England for a two week holiday. Are they intitelled to nhs facilities if needed. Their mother my daughter is English. Their father Italian.Could you please advise me pleaseThank you

Our Response:
The family as a whole is not entitled to use NHS facilities unless they are deemed to be classed as being 'ordinarily resident' in the UK.
AboutImmigration - 5-Jun-18 @ 10:52 AM
My two grand children aged 5 & 8yrs are Italian residents and both hold British passports are coming to England for a two week holiday. Are they intitelled to nhs facilities if needed. Their mother my daughter is English. Their father Italian. Could you please advise me please Thank you
Tedda - 4-Jun-18 @ 3:42 PM
Hello I am holding a Dutch passport and is currently studying a full time undergraduate course in the US.I have applied for a transfer program and shall be going to a London-based university in Sep 2018.As I understand being a EU passport holder, it will not be necessary for me to obtain any visa to come to England (at least for the time being until Bexit in March 2019), but I wish to make sure I am qualified for the NHS service and treatment while I am there.Do you need to get any additional medical insurance ?
M Keenan - 18-May-18 @ 10:22 AM
Hi, I am in the UK on Tier 2 dependant visa(my wife being the primary visa holder). I have been a resident in the UK for 2.5 years. I might be applying for a tier 2 general visa. I have received a treatment(via prescription tablets) for Latent TB here in the UK. I was told that the prescription was free. They didn't charge me anything in the hospital. In the tier 2 visa application, there is a questionnaire that asks "have you ever received a treatment in the UK". I should say yes to this. Now my question is, 1) am I eligible/entitled for free NHS treatment? 2) does this treatment fall under free prescriptions. 3) if i have to pay, how will I come to know how much I have to pay. 4) Should I remember all the dates and reasons that I had visited the GP and hospitals to fill in the form. To avoid any refusals, I have to make this clear before I apply for the visa. Kindly advise. Regards
Sr - 9-May-18 @ 8:52 PM
Going to Europe this coming November 2018. I am a British/Canadian citizen. How do I apply for a European NHS health card.
Lillybet - 7-May-18 @ 12:32 PM
Tefi - Your Question:
I arrived to UK 1 month ago and I have to wait for my NHS number until I'm here for 6 months.I will like to know if I can get assistance through my husband that is uk citizen and has already his NHS number.

Our Response:
You would not be able to get NHS treatment on the basis of your husband being a British citizen.
AboutImmigration - 4-May-18 @ 12:21 PM
I arrived to UK 1 month ago and I have to wait for my NHS number until I'm here for 6 months. I will like to know if I can get assistance through my husband that is uk citizen and has already his NHS number.
Tefi - 1-May-18 @ 10:57 PM
Anna - Your Question:
I just found out that I am 6 weeks pregnant and am planning on leaving the US in two weeks to visit England and stay with family for 6 months. I have dual UK/US citizenship as I was born is England. My question is, am I able to receive prenatal care while I am visiting the UK?

Our Response:
Within the UK, free NHS treatment is provided on the basis of someone being ‘ordinarily resident’. It is not dependent upon nationality, payment of UK taxes, national insurance contributions, being registered with a GP, having an NHS number or owning property in the UK. You can see more via the link here, which should help answer your question.
AboutImmigration - 1-May-18 @ 2:05 PM
I just found out that I am 6 weeks pregnant and am planning on leaving the US in two weeks to visit England and stay with family for 6 months. I have dual UK/US citizenship as I was born is England. My question is, am I able to receive prenatal care while I am visiting the UK?
Anna - 1-May-18 @ 6:10 AM
Bee - Your Question:
My Parents came on a 6 months visa and my dad was referred by his optician to hospital because he had high blood pressure he received treatment at tge hospital and stayed in hospital because they couldn't manage to reduce his blood pressure. Now he has gone back and l received a bill of £2500. I thought because it was an emergency he didn't have to pay could anybody assist me please

Our Response:
Within the UK, free NHS treatment is provided on the basis of someone being ‘ordinarily resident’. For visa applications made outside the UK/EEA, every individual needs to pay a healthcare surcharge, please see link here and here .
AboutImmigration - 19-Apr-18 @ 2:45 PM
My Parents came on a 6 months visa and my dad was referred by his optician to hospital because he had high blood pressure he received treatment at tge hospital and stayed in hospital because they couldn't manage to reduce his blood pressure. Now he has gone back and l received a bill of £2500. I thought because it was an emergency he didn't have to pay could anybody assist me please
Bee - 17-Apr-18 @ 2:52 PM
My query is regarding NHS (GP and Hospital Coverage). I am an EU (Netherlands) passport holder currently staying in India. As I have not been in Netherlands, I do not have an ongoing Netherlands insurance and cannot get an EHIC card. I am also not working currently. My husband is an Indian resident and moving to UK on a Tier 2 ICT visa. I will be travelling with him but I do not need a visa (as i am an EU passport holder). I will not need to pay any healthcare surcharge as I do not need a visa. When I come to UK, it will be for a period of 2 years and I will be staying with my husband. As i am pregnant, i will not be working for around 1 year. I wanted to understand if i will be covered under NHS and can visit the GP and Hospital? When registering with the GP and Hospital, do i need to produce any specific documentation to prove that I am staying as an ordinary resident? Will the pregnancy related cost be covered under the NHS or will i need to pay it out of my own pocket? Thanks for your help.
JV - 14-Mar-18 @ 10:53 AM
Hi, I've applied leave to remain on December 2017, and still waiting for Home Office's decision . However, i gave birth my baby on February 2018. My partner is British and we have requested to marry in June. I got NHS bill which charged the neonatal care for my baby and me even i let them know the baby's father is British. They told me the baby's immigration status have to follow mother's immigration statusfor the first three months. I have never heard of this before, is it real? So, is that means both me and the baby are not entitled to free NHS services? How do i prove the hospital that my baby is British??
CL - 13-Mar-18 @ 9:00 PM
Ruth - Your Question:
I am trying to advise an elderly British couple who have lived abroad for 8 years (not in Europe). They receive the UK state pension. In their old age they now wish to return to live in the UK where all their children reside. They will be living with one of their children.What is their position regarding their NHS care?

Our Response:
The Age UK guide via the link here , will tell you all you need to know.
AboutImmigration - 8-Mar-18 @ 11:12 AM
@Ruth - Free services under the NHS are only available to those who are habitually resident in the UK. British citizens are considered habitually resident as soon as they return to the UK.
TJ. - 8-Mar-18 @ 5:52 AM
I am trying to advise an elderly British couple who have lived abroad for 8 years (not in Europe).They receive the UK state pension. In their old age they now wish to return to live in the UK where all their children reside. They will be living with one of their children. What is their position regarding their NHS care?
Ruth - 7-Mar-18 @ 8:08 PM
I'm a British citizen I'm having a kid with an illegal person in the UK would i be able to get healthcare for my partner
?? - 2-Mar-18 @ 1:30 AM
MrsF - Your Question:
I wonder if you can help. My husband came to UK AND joined the Army. He left but was still married to a serving armed forces member and received treatment for Cancer.he was working and living in the uk. The army gave him the wrong discharge stamp but this was not discovered until 14 years later when we went to get married. We are still waiting for his papers to be sorted Home office have had all proofs for 18 months and no decision made yet but they allowed us to marry. Not long after we married my husband was admitted to hospital and found to be in heart failure and have stage 3 kidney disease and severe hypertension. We assume that because we are married and I'm uk born and bread that he is covered to use the NHS for free? he is and always has been resident in the UK and we had no prior knowledge of the mistake by the armed forces.

Our Response:
I am sorry to hear this. You can see via the gov.uk link here , who is eligible for free NHS healthcare. I hope it helps answer your question.
AboutImmigration - 23-Feb-18 @ 2:29 PM
I wonder if you can help. My husband came to UK AND joined the Army. He left but was still married to a serving armed forces member and received treatment for Cancer.he was working and living in the uk. The army gave him the wrong discharge stamp but this was not discovered until 14 years later when we went to get married. We are still waiting for his papers to be sorted Home office have had all proofs for 18 months and no decision made yet but they allowed us to marry. Not long after we married my husband was admitted to hospital and found to be in heart failure and have stage 3 kidney disease and severe hypertension. We assume that because we are married and I'm uk born and bread that he is covered to use the NHS for free? he is and always has been resident in the UK and we had no prior knowledge of the mistake by the armed forces.
MrsF - 23-Feb-18 @ 12:30 AM
Good afternoon, Hope you would be able to help me out with regards to issue described below. My partner is UK resident, living in UK for several years now. I am 34 weeks pregnant. When I found out, I decided to move to UK. I am registered in NHS and having regular appointments with my midwife.Next week my sick note from doctor from Poland ends and I will need a new one - till the end of pregnancy if possible, because I don't feel well and I would prefer not to work anymore. I work remotely for a Polish IT company which requires a sick leave immediately after you cannot work (not after 7 days, like in UK). My question is whether a GP or midwife can give me a longer sick note so I can send it to company in Poland? Thank you very much. Kind regards
mbr - 17-Feb-18 @ 11:12 AM
AVC - Your Question:
Hello. My parents are 91 and 85 years old, are British passport holders who had lived and worked in the UK for over 30 years, until they retired, then continued to live here until a few years ago, when they moved back to their native India. They now want to visit us in the UK for a couple of months and want to know, if they fall ill whilst here, will they be able to access free NHS care. I have looked on the NHS website, but I am unclear whether my parents qualify for exemption from being charged, as they both were civil servants (one worked for the DHSS and the other for local government), and I want to be clear about their status. Please could you assist with this information. Thank you.

Our Response:
If your parents are only visiting, then they will be asked questions about their residence status in the UK. As a rule, people who live outside the EEA, including former UK residents, should make sure they are covered by health insurance, unless an exemption applies to them. Anyone who does not have insurance will be charged, you can see more via the NHS link here. Those who are exempt and will be entitled to free NHS care include; diplomats, members of the Armed Forces and war pensioners.
AboutImmigration - 8-Feb-18 @ 10:33 AM
@AVC - One way around your issue is to have your parents register with your local GP as soon as they arrive in the UK and quote your address as their own address. They should also state that they intend to stay in the UK for the foreseeable future.
TJ. - 7-Feb-18 @ 6:44 PM
@AVC - If your parents are currently not residents in the UK they cannot access free services under the NHS even if they are British citizens. They should obtain travel insurance before their visit to the UK.
TJ. - 7-Feb-18 @ 6:39 PM
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