Access to Healthcare in the UK

Free National Health Service (NHS) hospital treatment is provided within England based on someone being ‘ordinarily resident’. Being ordinarily resident 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. You cannot be considered ordinarily resident in the UK unless you have indefinite leave to remain or status under the EU Settlement Scheme. 

Those who are not ordinarily resident in the UK, including former UK residents, are overseas visitors and may be charged for NHS services. 

Treatment in A&E departments and at GP surgeries remains free for all. 

If you are attending a hospital appointment and it transpires that you are not entitled to free treatment, you will have to pay for the care you receive and pay a deposit before your appointment.

You may be asked to prove that you qualify – and determining residency is not always simply a matter of paying UK taxes and National Insurance, being registered with a GP or owning property in the UK.

Please note that urgent services will be provided to any patient – even if you have not paid a deposit. This covers life-saving treatment or actions that stop a condition from becoming immediately life-threatening.

Urgent treatment for overseas visitors

This covers services that our clinicians do not consider immediately necessary but cannot wait until you return home.

The hospital will need to secure payment before treatment, but the treatment will not be delayed if unsuccessful. However, you will be required to settle your bill during or after the treatment.

Non-urgent treatment for overseas visitors

This means routine elective services that could wait until you return home. Such services will not be provided unless you pay the total estimated cost in advance. 

A decision as to whether treatment is urgent or non-urgent can depend on when you can reasonably be expected to return home. That decision may be reassessed if your return home is postponed for valid reasons or your medical condition changes unexpectedly.

Visitors from the EEA and Switzerland

If you are not insured in your country for free healthcare services when visiting the UK, you will be charged at 150% of the standard NHS rates.

Visitors from the rest of the world

It is recommended you are covered through personal medical insurance for the duration of your visit. 

If you use hospital services, you will be charged 150% of the standard NHS rate unless you or the treatment fall into an exemption category.

Accessing healthcare in ScotlandWales, and Northern Ireland is different from in England.  

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