Written Question on Health Services: Foreign Nationals

Written Questions are submitted by MPs or Lords to receive information from a Department.

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Date Title Questioner
16 Oct 2017, 3:46 p.m. Health Services: Foreign Nationals Sir Edward Davey


To ask the Secretary of State for Health, what assessment he has made of the effect of up-front charges for healthcare on people not seeking early medical help due to their immigration status or the cost of healthcare.

Answer (Philip Dunne)

Following a detailed public consultation that ran from December 2015 to March 2016, the Government set out in its response to that consultation in February 2017 that it intended to amend the existing Charging Regulations. Over the course of the consultation and decision-making process the Government carefully considered the impact the changes may have on public health and on vulnerable groups.

The amendment regulations maintain the existing exemptions in place for the purposes of protecting the public’s health and do not change our position of ensuring that the most vulnerable have access to free healthcare. The requirement for upfront charging will not apply in the case of treatment that clinicians consider immediately necessary, or otherwise urgent (such that it cannot wait until the overseas visitor can reasonably be expected to return home). This means that chargeable overseas visitors will never have immediately necessary treatment (which includes all maternity treatment), or urgent treatment withheld or delayed pending payment.

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