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Will I be Entitled to NHS Treatment?

By: Louise Smith, barrister - Updated: 9 Jun 2017 | 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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HI there My wife is US citizen, I am British. She came here on the visiting family visa and will apply for LTR in August, she has demonstrably moved here permanently, and is enrolled for University in September (fees paid), shipped things here and we are co-signed for Council Tax etc. The NHS guidance says: ============ Being properly settled in the UK for the time being: In the past, the Department of Health has suggested that someone who has been here for less than six months is less likely to meet the ‘settled’ criterion of the ordinary residence description, but this is only a guideline. For a British citizen, an EEA national and for a non- EEA national with ILR or a non-EEA national not subject to immigration control, it is perfectly possible to be ordinarily resident here from the day of arrival, when it is clear that that person has, upon arrival, taken up settled residence. ============ My question is, how and where do we test / apply this criteria. Do we just go to the local GP and try and register, or is there a way to do it otherwise.
PJ Hardy - 9-Jun-17 @ 9:33 AM
HI there My wife is US citizen, I am British. She came here on the visiting family visa and will apply for LTR in August, she has demonstrably moved here permanently, and is enrolled for University in September (fees paid), shipped things here and we are co-signed for Council Tax etc. The NHS guidance says: ============ Being properly settled in the UK for the time being: In the past, the Department of Health has suggested that someone who has been here for less than six months is less likely to meet the ‘settled’ criterion of the ordinary residence description, but this is only a guideline. For a British citizen, an EEA national and for a non- EEA national with ILR or a non-EEA national not subject to immigration control, it is perfectly possible to be ordinarily resident here from the day of arrival, when it is clear that that person has, upon arrival, taken up settled residence. ============ My question is, how and where do we test / apply this criteria. Do we just go to the local GP and try and register, or is there a way to do it otherwise.
PJ Hardy - 8-Jun-17 @ 4:42 PM
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Andi - 4-Jun-17 @ 9:49 AM
Merle - Your Question:
Is a British born woman who has lived in NZ for 50 years and recently become a NZ citizen entitled to free health care if necessary while visiting the UK?

Our Response:
In April 2015, changes were made to the way the NHS charges overseas visitors for NHS hospital care. These changes also affect some former residents of the UK - please see link here.
AboutImmigration - 30-May-17 @ 12:16 PM
Is a British born woman who has lived in NZ for 50 years and recently become a NZ citizen entitled to free health care if necessary while visiting the UK?
Merle - 29-May-17 @ 8:02 PM
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.feza - Your Question:
I am an englishman living in germany with my girlfriend and two children who was born in germany.we want to move back to the u.k soon.my girlfriend and son have ongoing medical conditions.wud they be entitled to free health care?

Our Response:
In April 2015, changes were made to the way the NHS charges overseas visitors for NHS hospital care. These changes also affect some former residents of the UK. The changes were made so that the NHS does not lose out on income from migrants, visitors and former residents of the UK, who may be required to pay for their hospital treatment costs while in England, please see link here.
AboutImmigration - 10-May-17 @ 12:38 PM
I am an englishman living in germany with my girlfriend and two children who was born in germany.we want to move back to the u.k soon.my girlfriend and son have ongoing medical conditions.wud they be entitled to free health care?
.feza - 9-May-17 @ 11:31 PM
Nikki - Your Question:
Hello ,My name is Vijaykumar. 28 years old.I m an Indian citizen. I was in London for 5 years till last year. As last year , I had very major bowel operation on my body at Kings geogre hospital 26/1/2016. For some circumstances , I had to come India to see my family and my family doctor. I have been in India now it's for 1 year. As my visa has been finished too.But, Since I had major bowel operation. I am not feeling well at my stomach. As I do hv a lot pain sometimes. I can not relieve my pain. I have been to some doctor. But I am not satisfied in India with some doctor. I want to come uk for my treatment. Is my treatment will be free? And what will be the procedure? Unfortunately , I can not live with my pain. I need treatment soon for my good health. Plz help me asap.

Our Response:
I'm afraid as you do not live in the UK, you would not be entitled to free NHS treatment in the UK even if you came to the UK. In order to be allowed free treatment, a person has to be considered as 'ordinarily resident', please see link here.
AboutImmigration - 2-May-17 @ 10:17 AM
Hello , My name is Vijaykumar. 28 years old. I m an Indian citizen. I was in London for 5 years till last year. As last year , I had very major bowel operation on my body at Kings geogre hospital 26/1/2016. For some circumstances , I had to come India to see my family and my family doctor. I have beenin India now it's for 1 year. As my visa has been finished too. But, Since I had major bowel operation. I am not feeling well at my stomach. As I do hv a lot pain sometimes. I can not relieve my pain. I have been to some doctor. But I am not satisfied in India with some doctor. I want to come uk for my treatment. Is my treatment will be free? And what will be the procedure? Unfortunately , I can not live with my pain. I need treatment soon for my good health. Plz help me asap.
Nikki - 1-May-17 @ 4:50 AM
Toby - Your Question:
I am a British citizen having residency in New Zealand. I am visiting my parents in the UK for a month. I have now found out I am pregnant and my 12 week scan falls within that month. Am I entitled to have my scan on the NHS as New Zealand has bilateral agreement with the UK.

Our Response:
In April 2015, changes were made to the way the NHS charges overseas visitors for NHS hospital care. These changes also affect some former residents of the UK. Within England, free NHS hospital 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. The changes which came into effect from April affect visitors and former UK residents differently, depending on where they now live, please see gov.uk link here.
AboutImmigration - 27-Apr-17 @ 1:52 PM
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Elda - 14-Apr-17 @ 9:25 AM
Brummie - Your Question:
Is a British born woman who has lived in Turkey for 50 years, married to a Turkish man (now deceased) and now has dual nationality, entitled to free health care treatment during a visit to the UK?

Our Response:
Within England, free NHS hospital 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. The changes which came into effect from April affect visitors and former UK residents differently, depending on where they now live, please see link here.
AboutImmigration - 13-Apr-17 @ 12:51 PM
Emy - Your Question:
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Our Response:
Within England, free NHS hospital treatment is provided on the basis of someone being classed as ‘ordinarily resident’ or EEA nationals who are insured by another European state, or exempt from charges (including people who have paid the immigration health surcharge). If you do not fall into any of these groups you may be asked to pay for your care, please see link here which will explain more.
AboutImmigration - 13-Apr-17 @ 11:15 AM
hayley - Your Question:
Hi, I'm a British citizen and I hold a British passport, I have lived and worked in Britain. I have been out of the country living in other countries for a few years now. However, I need to change my contraception and have received medical care in England before. Is it possible for me to receive contraception in the UK without being a resident? I believe I have an NHS number, I just want to clarify that I would only be getting contraception.

Our Response:
If you are not classed as being 'ordinarily resident' in the UK, then you would not be eligible to access NHS services remotely.
AboutImmigration - 13-Apr-17 @ 10:14 AM
Is a British born woman who has lived in Turkey for 50 years, married to a Turkish man (now deceased) and now has dual nationality, entitled to free health care treatment during a visit to the UK?
Brummie - 12-Apr-17 @ 8:10 PM
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Emy - 12-Apr-17 @ 1:20 PM
Hi, I'm a British citizen and I hold a British passport, I have lived and worked in Britain. I have been out of the country living in other countries for a few years now. However, I need to change my contraception and have received medical care in England before. Is it possible for me to receive contraception in the UK without being a resident? I believe I have an NHS number, I just want to clarify that I would only be getting contraception.
hayley - 12-Apr-17 @ 11:39 AM
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Chubbs - 8-Apr-17 @ 12:01 PM
GM - Your Question:
Me and my husband moved and legaly worked in uk for 8 years now. We recently foud out that our 3 years old nephew from Romania has leukaemia and we would like to bring him to uk for any possible treatment on nhs considering the fact that we have alwsys paid taxes and we are entitled to nhs. Can anyone give me any advice on how to do this or if it is possible at all ? We are in a desperate situation as we believe that he would have much more chances of recovery in uk.

Our Response:
I am sorry to hear that your nephew is ill. However, if your bring your nephew to the UK, regardless of whether you pay taxes or not, your nephew would not be entitled to free NHS treatment as it is a residence-based system and your nephew is not considered 'ordinarily resident' in the UK. You can see more via the link here.
AboutImmigration - 3-Apr-17 @ 12:33 PM
Me and my husband moved and legaly worked in uk for 8 years now . We recently foud out that our 3 years old nephew from Romania has leukaemia and we would like to bring him to uk for any possible treatment on nhs considering the fact that we have alwsys paid taxes and we are entitled to nhs . Can anyone give me any advice on how to do this or if it is possible at all ? We are in a desperate situation as we believe that he would have much more chances of recovery in uk .
GM - 2-Apr-17 @ 1:41 PM
Hello.I am Canadian but have dual passports with UK. I am moving to England permanently in the near future.I want to know about the NHS and how tohave things covered i.e. prescriptions.I am retired so although I worked and lived in UK in the past, I have not lived there for 30 years. Will t his be a possibility?
Nicki - 30-Mar-17 @ 4:16 PM
Chas - Your Question:
I have lived in the UK most of my life I am British but 10 years ago I moved to Thailand and married a Thai national. I am 67 years old. I have had a few medical problems here which I paid for from my savings but now I live on my pension and I need spine surgery. I can't walk and am in immense pain sitting standing or lying down. I can't afford the operation here can I come back to the UK and get it done on the NHS. Also this is not that important but would my wife be able to come with me she has a very good job here in Thailand and would like to come to take care of me there. But as I said this is not a problem if she can't come.PUN

Our Response:
Regardless of whether you are a British citizen you have to be considered as 'ordinarily resident' in the UK in order to be able to access the NHS. Yo can see more via the gov.uk link here.
AboutImmigration - 23-Mar-17 @ 2:42 PM
I have lived in the UK most of my life i am British but 10 years ago i moved to Thailand and married a Thai national. I am 67 years old. I have had a few medical problems here which i paid for from my savings but now i live on my pension and i need spine surgery. I can't walk and am in immense pain sitting standing or lying down. I can't afford the operation here can i come back to the UK and get it done on the NHS. Also this is not that important but would my wife be able to come with me she has a very good job here in Thailand and would like to come to take care of me there. But as i said this is not a problem if she can't come.PUN
Chas - 23-Mar-17 @ 7:19 AM
Hi i am married to a british citizen,i am Filipina and we live here in the Philippines,my husband is battling for stage 4 stomach cancer,and we are seeking for any organization in the UK who is able to help especially when it comes to financial for those people who have cancer...thank you
Weng - 18-Mar-17 @ 6:10 AM
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Caroline - 8-Mar-17 @ 4:17 PM
Daniel - Your Question:
Hi. I am an EEA National and I have moved to the Uk from June 2016 to work. my wife was granted an eea family permit to come and join me and she came on September 2016.from then we sent her documents to request her Residence and received a letter on january from home office saying that she is elligible to work even while waiting for their reply.What I would like to know is if she can get registered at our local GP and if she is elligible for NHS services.Thanks in advance for your reply

Our Response:
You can see more via the gov.uk link here- which should answer your question.
AboutImmigration - 2-Mar-17 @ 10:58 AM
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