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Will I be Entitled to NHS Treatment?

By: Louise Smith, barrister - Updated: 23 Mar 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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[Add a Comment]
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
Hello, I am French (and a French resident), my ex-husband is a British citizen (and a UK resident who's registered at the NHS), our 2 year old son was born in France, he is a French citizen who only has a French ID. He resides mostly in France but also spends time in England with his father. Is he entitled to be registered at the NHS and receive free NHS treatment? Or would he need a British passport? Many thanks, Caroline
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
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
Daniel - 1-Mar-17 @ 12:12 PM
Amelia Stanners - Your Question:
Hello. My husband and I were both born and raised in the UK. My daughter was also born in the U.K. but we live in the US at the moment but are coming back to the UK permanently. Are we still entitled to the NHS and basically be the same as If we never lived in the US? Many thanks.

Our Response:
For an individual to receive free NHS treatment, they have to be considered as ordinarily resident in the UK. The NHS does not normally provide free hospital treatment for people who do not reside in the UK even if they are UK nationals. For instance, if you have lived outside the UK for more than three months in the last year, you can be charged. However, you may be exempt from charges if you can produce evidence that you have been working abroad for less than five years and have lived in the UK continuously for at least 10 years at some point. Please see CAB link here for more information.
AboutImmigration - 16-Feb-17 @ 11:47 AM
Hello.My husband and I were both born and raised in the UK. My daughter was also born in the U.K. but we live in the US at the moment but are coming back to the UK permanently. Are we still entitled to the NHS and basically be the same as If we never lived in the US? Many thanks.
Amelia Stanners - 15-Feb-17 @ 3:44 PM
I come from Cyprus {European}. I was working in in England and I returned Cyprus for a visit. I found out I have leukemia and had treatment in Cyprus.I want to return to England to continue my treatment{bone marrow transplant. Am I entitle free treatment on NHS
Kay - 29-Jan-17 @ 12:36 PM
Hi, I was born in the U.K. And have lived most of my life there.If I aquire dual nationality with the U.S. Would I lose all entitlements to benefits in the U.K?
Andy - 12-Jan-17 @ 2:44 PM
Hi,my wife has been resident in the uk since 1st March 2016, and gave birth to our child on 7th November 2016, she is legally allowed to be a resident and allowed to work,if she so chooses. We have been billed extortionate amounts of money for health services,including the hospital stay for the baby's delivery.it was a straight forward birth,without epidural or caesarean. She is planning to stay In the uk with me permanently,as I have been continuously resident here myself from 1962 ,asa small child , and I'm a big British citizen.what is the relevant criteria that needs to be met,in order to gain cost free medical care for my ' overseas' wife , who plans to stay here in the u.k permanently.
Angryabdul - 28-Dec-16 @ 11:13 PM
hi my cousin is willing to have a child for me to adopt can I get here over here to give birth here she is from India I cant have children and her and her husband are willing to help there will be no money exchanged or what would my best option be ?
shilps - 28-Dec-16 @ 1:23 PM
Nicole - Your Question:
I am a US resident. My husband's job is temporarily locating us in the UK for 6 months. I am pregnant. Would I be able to receive healthcare during my pregnancy if we are temporarily here?

Our Response:
You can see more via the NHS link here.
AboutImmigration - 12-Dec-16 @ 2:04 PM
I am a US resident. My husband's job is temporarily locating us in the UK for 6 months. I am pregnant. Would I be able to receive healthcare during my pregnancy if we are temporarily here?
Nicole - 11-Dec-16 @ 10:06 PM
N/A - Your Question:
Hi, I am a british citizen but was born and raised in Denmark. I recently arrived to the country about 2 months ago. I'm renting a room and about to start my university, all I have is my national insurance number, bank account and a private tenancy agreement since I came here. I suspect I have mouth cancer but do not have any assigned general physician yet. What is the quickest precaution I can take? I do not have any money at the moment and no job. The only amount I have is paying for the rent and feeding me. What is the quickest option for me to opt for if I suspect mouth cancer?

Our Response:
A patient doesn’t need to be “ordinarily resident” in the country to be eligible for NHS primary medical care – this only applies to secondary (hospital) care, please see NHS link here.
AboutImmigration - 9-Dec-16 @ 12:18 PM
Hi, I am a british citizen but was born and raised in Denmark. I recently arrived to the country about 2 months ago. I'm rentinga room and about to start my university, all I have is my national insurance number, bank account and a private tenancy agreement since I came here. I suspect I have mouth cancer but do not have any assigned general physician yet. What is the quickest precaution I can take? I do not have any money at the moment and no job. The only amount I have is paying for the rent and feeding me. What is the quickest option for me to opt for if I suspect mouth cancer?
N/A - 9-Dec-16 @ 4:07 AM
My wife and I live in Spain but she works two weeks out of four in the UK , We are both British, I am retired early due to health with a med pension from the civil service. Not due my state pension for another 6 years. Are we both covered under the EHIC card while we live in Spain?
Smugzer - 21-Nov-16 @ 1:33 PM
Hi I'm coming to UK on visitor visa and after couple weeks I feal sick because my both kidney stop working and now I'm on daylisis should I pay for my treatment are no? Please advice Thanks
Taha - 15-Nov-16 @ 4:40 PM
Hi, I'm 26 weeks pregnant, I overstayed my visa, can I still deliver my baby at the hospital where I registered here in London? I don't have money to pay for the delivery of my baby? What should I do? Please help.
Hiyas - 12-Nov-16 @ 11:33 PM
Hi My mum is British citizen, Diognise with terminal pancreatic cancer in india, I bought her back to uk for her treatment , she wants to settle down and received her treatment in U.K. Because all her family here, but Hospital told her she has to pay her for treatment , please tell me is that true that she has to pay for her treatment.
Kanbi - 4-Nov-16 @ 8:23 PM
JR - Your Question:
I am a British citizen living in Canada. I'm confused about what level of healthcare am I entitled to when I visit the UK? Should I purchase health insurance?

Our Response:
As specified in the article, if you have moved abroad on a permanent basis, you are longer be entitled to medical treatment in the UK under normal NHS rules. This is because the NHS has a 'residence-based 'healthcare system. If you are visiting the UK, you can see more via the CAB link here.
AboutImmigration - 4-Nov-16 @ 12:24 PM
I am a British citizen living in Canada. I'm confused about what level of healthcare am I entitled to when I visit the UK? Should I purchase health insurance?
JR - 3-Nov-16 @ 3:29 PM
Amira shaikh - Your Question:
Hi I have British citizenship by descent I understand that my child would have to be born in the U.K. In order to get citizenship as I will not be able to pass it on.As I now reside abroad will I still be able to come to the uk and have my baby under the NHS?

Our Response:
You would not be able to come to the UK and have your child on the NHS unless you are classed as being 'ordinarily resident' in the UK. If you are considering returning to the UK, depending on how long you've been out of the country, you may have to satisfy the conditions of a test, known as the habitual residence test (HRT) before you're allowed to make any claim.
AboutImmigration - 19-Oct-16 @ 12:32 PM
Hi I have British citizenship by descent I understand that my child would have to be born in the U.K. In order to get citizenship as I will not be able to pass it on. As I now reside abroad will I still be able to come to the uk and have my baby under the NHS?
Amira shaikh - 18-Oct-16 @ 7:12 PM
Agbaje mariam - Your Question:
Am frm nigeria but my husband is British citizenship by Birth, planning to come to uk to give birth, will I be entitled to free NHs base on my husband is British. Mariam

Our Response:
No, you would not be eligible for free NHS treatment on the basis that your husband is a British citizen. You can see more regarding charges via the CAB link here.
AboutImmigration - 13-Oct-16 @ 2:43 PM
Am frm nigeria but my husband is British citizenship by Birth, planning to come to uk to give birth, will I be entitled to free NHs base on my husband is British. Mariam
Agbaje mariam - 13-Oct-16 @ 6:18 AM
Missy - Your Question:
Hi my uncle is not a uk resident. He is 69 years old curreny visiting the uk as he has a 5year visa but has been taken to the hospital suffering from prostate cancer and bad kidneys will he have to pay fees for his treatment????

Our Response:
Your uncle's entitlement to free NHS treatment depends on the length and purpose of his residence in the UK. From 6 April 2015, non-European Economic Area (EEA) nationals have to pay a health surcharge when applying for a visa to stay in the UK for over 6 months, unless they are exempt. Those who have paid the surcharge can use the NHS on the same basis as an ordinarily resident person while their visa remains valid, please see gov.uk link here to see whether this document may answer your question.
AboutImmigration - 11-Oct-16 @ 1:50 PM
Hi my uncle is not a uk resident. He is 69 years old curreny visiting the uk as he has a 5year visabut has been taken to the hospital suffering from prostate cancer and bad kidneys will he have to pay fees for his treatment????
Missy - 10-Oct-16 @ 9:31 PM
Hello, I am Russian citizen, my husband is UK citizen. We have been sharing our time between 2 countries for the last 7 years. Last year we had baby and decided to settle in the UK. My daughter came to the UK when she was 4 months old, she recived her UK birth certificate and passport. I am preparing for my exams (Life in the UK) in order to apply for ILR. Recently we were billed by our Hospital Overseas Visitors Manager for covering my daughters medical appointments as she considered as not ordinary resident, because I do not have/or yet applied for ILR. What can I do to prove her rights for free NHS treatment? Thank you, Olga
Olga - 1-Oct-16 @ 10:41 PM
Kenny - Your Question:
Currently on treatment of contagious disease Hepatis C on nhs waiting list for medication and my tier 2 visa is about to expire in a one week. I have my another appointment in six months time and lab test referred to me in 2 months time. Can I make an application on flr O to extend my stay because of the on going treatment

Our Response:
This wouldn't be a sufficient enough reason to extend your visa as you could have treatment in your home country too. If your visa ends, then you can travel abroad if you have hepatitis C, but you should speak to your doctor in advance. You may need to have vaccinations and special arrangements may need to be made to ensure you're able to transport and store your hepatitis C medication safely.
AboutImmigration - 22-Sep-16 @ 10:22 AM
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