The NHS is a residence-based system. Visitors that are not ordinarily resident in the UK are defined as overseas patients and in some cases, might need to pay for NHS hospital treatment.
Overseas patients need to provide evidence to the Overseas Team at University Hospitals Birmingham NHS Foundation Trust (UHB) to confirm they are eligible for free NHS treatment – this is a legal requirement.
The baseline questions for overseas patients include:
- Do you have a non-UK EHIC/PRC/S2?
- Where have you lived for the past six months?
- Do you have indefinite leave to remain in the UK?
- Do you have a valid visa or leave to enter/remain in the UK?
- Have you paid the health surcharge or are you exempt or waived from paying it?
Visitors from the European Economic Area (EEA)
Visitors to England from the EEA who fall ill or have a medical emergency will need a valid European Health Insurance Card (EHIC). Visitors without a valid EHIC may be charged for treatment.
EHICs that have been lost or stolen while in England will need to be replaced. Visitors will need to obtain a Provisional Replacement Certificate (PRC) by contacting the relevant organisation in the country the EHIC was issued.
Visitors, who do not have a EHIC or cannot obtain a PRC, may have to pay for treatment at the standard NHS rate.
Visitors from outside the EEA
Visitors to England from a non-EEA country need to be covered for healthcare through personal medical or travel insurance for the duration of their visit, even if they are a former UK resident.
Visitors that require NHS treatment but do not have insurance will be charged unless an exemption category applies to either the visitor or treatment.
Paying for treatment
If the Overseas Team decides a visitor is not entitled to free NHS treatment (in accordance with overseas NHS visitors charging regulations), an ‘undertaking to pay’ form will need to be signed and payment will be required for treatment plus the full cost of any prescribed medication.
The preferred payment method is by banker’s draft, although credit or debit cards and cash are accepted.
Visitors with travel insurance will need to pay for treatment first and reclaim it back from the insurance company at a later date. If for any reason, you require further treatment, additional charges will be made.
Contact the Overseas Team
Visitors can discuss their treatment options by contacting the Overseas Team.
Last reviewed: 27 August 2021