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Will I be Entitled to NHS Treatment?

By: Louise Smith, barrister - Updated: 17 Feb 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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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
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.
AVC - 7-Feb-18 @ 1:47 PM
Hi! I hope you could lend me your expert advice..I am now a British citizen living and working in the UK. My mother is back home in the Philippines. She lives with my dad who is elderly as well. I have two brothers but always away as they are in the army and navy. My mum is having dialysis twice a week and appears to be getting weaker. I constantly worry about her. Send her monthly financial support which is almost half of my salary here. My query is.. I was thinking of applying her for a visitor visa just so she can visit us her. As she has never been anywhere. She will require dialysis. I understand I have to pay for this privately or can I apply her for a healthcare surcharge? Or is there any chance that I can apply her for an indefinite leave as my dependent that is requiring long term care? THANK you for your time.
Nyla - 6-Feb-18 @ 3:07 AM
My family and I are immigrating to the UK end May. I am a British citizen by birth and have a British passport, my parents came to South Africa when I was a youngster. I am married to a European citizen, when we come over will my husband and kids be entitled to NHS? Obviously my husband and I will apply for NI and look for jobs etc. Please advise?
Jan - 31-Jan-18 @ 7:39 PM
@Simmona - All residents in the UK are entitled to free services available under the NHS. Their nationality does not matter
TJ. - 24-Jan-18 @ 5:43 PM
Hello, I am asking for a friend, she is romanian cetezen just moved here from South Africa with her 2.5 year old daughter which she is south afrincan cetizen dose she have to pay for doctors if she needs?
Simmona - 24-Jan-18 @ 3:06 PM
@Mariusz - You will be in a mixed ward comprising different ethnicities. There is no racial segregation in the UK.
JoJo - 8-Jan-18 @ 3:56 PM
@Mariusz - London is a diverse multicultural society so even your doctor and nurse might be black but I'm not sure I understand your question.
TJ. - 8-Jan-18 @ 9:26 AM
Hello I live in London 7 years and have to have sugary on my knee.will I have to have a bed in the hospital with black people?
Mariusz - 8-Jan-18 @ 4:15 AM
Bernadetta - Your Question:
I am polish citizen, living in the UK for the last 9 years. For this time I was not getting benefits and still paying my taxes, bought a home etc. Recently I found out my mother in law is in stage IV breast cancer. She is polish citizen, but not resident in the UK. Is it possible to bring her here for a treatment and living? I just do not want to give up living in the UK and start my life again and at the same time I want to give her proper care which I believe can be done in the UK. We can't afford private cancer treatment and we wonder if she would become egilable for NHS tratment.

Our Response:
Within England, free NHS hospital treatment is provided on the basis of someone being classed as ‘ordinarily resident’ in the UK. 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. If your bring your mother England specifically for planned treatment, she will need to make all necessary arrangements for herself in advance, as planned treatment is not covered by the EHIC, please see link here.
AboutImmigration - 4-Jan-18 @ 1:48 PM
I am polish citizen, living in the UK for the last 9 years. For this time I was not getting benefits and still paying my taxes, bought a home etc. Recently I found out my mother in law is in stage IV breast cancer. She is polish citizen, but not resident in the UK. Is it possible to bring her here for a treatment and living? I just do not want to give up living in the UK and start my life again and at the same time I want to give her proper care which I believe can be done in the UK. We can't afford private cancer treatment and we wonder if she would become egilable for NHS tratment.
Bernadetta - 3-Jan-18 @ 9:57 PM
Joji - Your Question:
HelloMy daughter is 24 years old and a uk citizen. She has spent the past 8 months living and working in Amsterdam and plans to carry in doing so for the near future although she plans to ultimately return to the uk. She was home visiting us this weekend and fell and broke her ankle. The hospital have put a temporary cast on her ankle but have advised that she must return to Amsterdam for further x rays and potential surgery as she is not eligle tobreceive this here in the uk. She was born in the uk and has lived here since leaving for Amsterdam earlier this year. We are a British family, have always worked and paid out taxes and NI. I’m disgusted that the NHS can’t treat their own that have contributed to the system!

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. You can see more via the gov.uk link here, which will explain fully.
AboutImmigration - 18-Dec-17 @ 2:40 PM
@Joji - your daughter is not currently resident in the UK and therefore is not entitled to free services under the NHS. Eligibility for free services under the NHS is not based on one's nationality but based on current residency. The next time your daughter travels to the UK she should apply for European Health Insurance in Netherlands which will allow her access to free NHS services in the UK.
TJ. - 18-Dec-17 @ 1:59 AM
Hello My daughter is 24 years old and a uk citizen. She has spent the past 8 months living and working in Amsterdam and plans to carry in doing so for the near future although she plans to ultimately return to the uk. She was home visiting us this weekend and fell and broke her ankle. The hospital have put a temporary cast on her ankle but have advised that she must return to Amsterdam for further x rays and potential surgery as she is not eligle tobreceive this here in the uk. She was born in the uk and has lived here since leaving for Amsterdam earlier this year. We are a British family, have always worked and paid out taxes and NI. I’m disgusted that the NHS can’t treat their own that have contributed to the system!
Joji - 17-Dec-17 @ 7:36 PM
Veronica- Your Question:
My sis-in-low want to come to uk just for delivery. once baby is born she is going back. is she can come & is she have to pay for nhs?

Our Response:
It is highly likely your sister-in-law will have to pay for her treatment in the UK, if she is coming to the UK to have her child. Once the hospital has established that she must pay for treatment, she will usually be asked to pay the full cost in advance. Within the UK, free NHS treatment is provided on the basis of someone being classed as ‘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.
AboutImmigration - 14-Dec-17 @ 11:04 AM
@Veronica if your sister is not resident in the UK she is not entitled to maternity services under the NHS
TJ. - 13-Dec-17 @ 9:26 PM
My sis-in-low want to come to uk just for delivery.. once baby is born she is going back.. is she can come & is she have to pay for nhs?
Veronica - 13-Dec-17 @ 12:19 PM
Bit of a different question/situation for you – tried looking for answers but not really had any success, hopefully one of you immigration boffins can give some advice. My wife and I are Irish, moved from Ireland to the UK nearly 20 years ago.Even went as far as to get permanent residence cards, with Brexit looming etc.Both working, paying taxes, children have dual Irish-British passports etc. The situation is that my father, who is also Irish, wants to come stay with us.He currently lives in the USA.He is in his ‘70s, retired and receiving a good pension.He has no other family members over there – and doesn’t want to live out the rest of his days on his own. I understand that there is a convention between the UK and Ireland that grants us “settled” status upon arrival in the UK, due to the Common Travel Area and the 1971 immigration laws in which that was retained. As my father is getting on in years, is he able to avail himself of NHS services other than emergency services… i.e. can he register with our GP, seek treatment in the event of various ailments etc?
Zoltan the Conqueror - 17-Nov-17 @ 11:15 AM
@TJ: Thank you very much for clearing my doubts. Just to confirm please let me know if I am on Tier2 ICT(Intra Company Transfer) VISA for three years, will this not be enough to get boosters and required vaccination. Is there anyother way beside the travel VISA to get required boosters and vaccination for my newly born child beside Insurance. Thank you very much again for your kind response.
Lokesh - 9-Nov-17 @ 11:54 AM
@Timo please note that if you are or have become a British citizen then EU law will not apply to you in the UK and there will be many more requirements for you to bring your mother to the UK.
TJ. - 9-Nov-17 @ 9:32 AM
@Timo if you are living in the UK as an EEA qualified person then your mother more or less has an automatic right to move to the UK to live with you as long as you can prove that you are a qualified person with a residence card e.g you are employed/studying/self employed. She can access NHS treatment once her residency in the UK is effective.
TJ. - 9-Nov-17 @ 9:29 AM
@Lokesh your family coming to the UK on visitor visas will most likely need to have travel medical insurance as they will not be entitled to free NHS treatment.
TJ. - 9-Nov-17 @ 9:20 AM
Hi My mother has Swedish nationality . I w at her to Love here in the uk to leave with us . She had an operation on her back is it possible for her to live here in the uk and get treatments ?
Timo - 8-Nov-17 @ 7:29 PM
Hi, I am an Indian passport holder working in UK on ICT(Inter Company Transfer) Tier 2 VISA for my organisation. I want to make my wife and new born baby(5 days old only) travel to UK on Standard Visitor VISA valid for 6 Months. I want to know that will my wife & new born baby be able to get enrolled and free treatment/suggestion/vaccination and required baby booster based on there Standard Visitor VISA or my ICT Tier 2 VISA please. Will their Standard Visitor VISA make on effect on the medical treatments or baby booster inspite of me(his father) having an ICT Tier2 VISA.
Lokesh - 3-Nov-17 @ 2:40 PM
Hi. I am an Indian passport holder and have an ILR in the UK but I was in India for pursuing higher studies and some professional computer courses. My partner is working in india. Currently I am pregnant and into my 6th month, I will be returning to the UK and I am planning to settle there. Am I eligible for free NHS maternity care?
Bibin - 22-Oct-17 @ 5:51 AM
Trim - Your Question:
I have been living in Cyprus for 15 months. In that time I have visited the UK 5 times. My permanent address is in Cyprus. My bank address is at my brother-in-laws. Can I visit the doctor while visiting and have a mammogram done on the NHS. I am a pensioner receiving my state pension. Thank you

Our Response:
The NHS in England is a residence-based system, unlike many other countries, which have insurance-based healthcare systems. This means that all visitors to England may have to pay for NHS healthcare, depending on their circumstances, please see link here.
AboutImmigration - 20-Oct-17 @ 11:52 AM
I have been living in Cyprus for 15 months. In that time I have visited the UK 5 times. My permanent address is in Cyprus.My bank address is at my brother-in-laws. Can I visit the doctor while visiting and have a mammogram done on the NHS. I am a pensioner receiving my state pension. Thank you
Trim - 19-Oct-17 @ 11:10 AM
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