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Overseas Visitors

This information is for overseas visitors coming to Isle of Wight NHS Trust.

It explains who has the right to have free hospital treatment under the National Health Service (NHS). It also tells you when you need to pay for hospital treatment or other care.

What is the NHS?

The NHS is a state-funded organization which provides free hospital treatment to people who are legally living in the UK on a permanent basis

Am I entitled to free hospital treatment?

Entitlement to free NHS hospital treatment is dependent on being ‘ordinarily resident’ in the United Kingdom (UK), which means broadly currently living here on a lawful and settled basis. People who are not normally resident in the UK are not automatically entitled to use the NHS free of charge.

Ordinarily resident is the main qualifying criterion, applicable regardless of nationality, ethnicity or whether the person holds a British passport, or has lived and paid taxes or National Insurance contributions in the UK in the past. It is defined in detail of the charging regulations, National Health Service (Charges to Overseas Visitors) Regulations 2015, which has been amended most recently by the National Health Service (Charges to Overseas Visitors) (Amendment) Regulations 2017

All NHS Trusts are legally obliged to check whether people using their services are normally resident in the UK. We are required by law to charge for any treatment provided to people who are found not to be eligible for free NHS treatment, and who are not otherwise exempt or covered by a Reciprocal Healthcare Agreement or European Economic Area arrangements.

You must also pay for services for which a UK ordinary resident must also pay, such as dentistry and prescriptions in England, unless you also meet the particular exemption criteria for those services.

Chapter 9 of the Charging regulations (Regulation 12) principally concerns those overseas visitors who are entitled to access NHS healthcare by virtue of EU rights arising under the EU Social Security Regulations (EC)

The EU Regulations apply to all countries within the EEA, which is made up of the 28 member states of the EU. The UK also has reciprocal healthcare agreements with some other European countries which are outside of the EU regulations.

European Health Insurance card (EHIC)

Only a valid EHIC or Provisional Replacement Certificate (PRC) will exempt visitors from charge and therefore entitle them to free NHS treatment that is medically necessary during their visit. A patient who has been charged because they did not provide an EHIC/PRC may be entitled to a reimbursement from the home member state on their return.

You will be charged for any treatment given to you by any member of staff in any of our services, in hospital or in the community.

In some cases, you may be asked to pay a deposit or the full amount before your treatment.

There are exceptions under certain circumstances which we will discuss with you if they apply.

How will I know if I have to pay? 

Our overseas visitors Manager can give you more information if you are not sure whether you are entitled to free hospital treatment.

The overseas visitors Manager can also advise you about which documents are OK to use when you are asked for evidence of entitlement.

Contact us

For more information on any of the above please see external link to the NHS choices website

Do you have further questions? Call 01983 822099 extension 6122 or email us

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