Quality Care - everyone, everytime

Overseas Visitors

Entitlement to free NHS hospital treatment is dependent on being ‘ordinarily resident’ in the UK, which means, broadly, currently living here on a lawful and settled basis.  Entitlement is not linked to nationality or the past or present payment of UK taxes or national insurance contribution.  The NHS is a residency-based healthcare system.

Ordinary Residence’ means, broadly, living in the UK on a lawful, voluntary and properly settled basis for the time being.  It is defined in detail at paragraphs 3.4 to 3.16 of the Dept. of Health NHS (Charges to Overseas Visitors) Regulations 2011. A person who is not ordinarily resident in this country at the time of treatment is not automatically entitled to NHS hospital treatment free of charge. 

The Charging Regulations place a legal obligation on NHS trusts in England to establish whether a person is an overseas visitor to whom charges apply and the relevant NHS body must charge the person liable (usually the patient) for the costs of the NHS services and recover the costs from them.  For exemptions categories see Chapter 3 of the NHS Regulations 2011.

Chapter 7 of the NHS Regulations 2011 lists the overseas visitors who are exempted from charge by virtue of European Union (EU) Rights and Regulations.  The EU Regulations apply to all countries within the European Economic Area (EEA) which is made up of 27 member states of the EU.  The UK also has reciprocal healthcare agreements with some other European countries which are outside of the EU Regulations, see Regulation 10. 


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 and EHIC/PRC may be entitled to a reimbursement from the home member state on their return.

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

To contact the Overseas Visitors Manager at the Isle of Wight NHS Trust, telephone: 01983 822099 x6122 between 09:00 – 16:00 Mondays-Fridays

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