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Will I be Entitled to NHS Treatment?

By: Louise Smith, barrister - Updated: 17 Apr 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]
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
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
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