NHS ‘can save £500m’ on foreign care

  • Posted

Posted 21/10/2013

The BBC reported today that foreigners are entitled to various treatments, including emergency care. Up to £500m could be recovered from overseas visitors’ and migrants’ use of the NHS every year, ministers believe.

The savings would come from a levy on foreigners, deterring health tourism and getting the NHS to claw back money it is owed by other countries.

The Government has already suggested that a £200-a-year levy on migrants from outside Europe staying for up to five years will be imposed, which could raise £200m a year.

A cost-recovery unit will also be set up to help hospitals claw back money they are owed by other governments for treating foreign nationals visiting the UK. To achieve this, it said a better system of identifying when visitors and migrants got treatment was needed.

Sophie Bales, a medical injury solicitor at Ashtons Legal, comments: “It is positive that the Government has identified the need for recovering costs from people  with no entitlement to NHS treatment.

However, it is yet to be seen how the system for identifying when visitors and migrants get treatment will be improved. In practice, the risk is that this will fall to GPs and may interfere with their role in treating patients. Although this is a good idea in practice, it is important that this is not going to put further strain on GPs and the NHS.”


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