The NHS is for residents of the UK only, regardless of holding a British Passport, Owning a property in the UK, or having a NHS number, paid or paying taxes/NI or by having a UK GP.
Under the Government Regulations it is a legal obligation to recover charges for NHS treatment if you do not meet an exemption. It is the patients responsibility to prove that they are entitled to NHS treatment without charge. Without sufficient evidence you will be liable for any treatment received.
- The accident and emergency department is the only department that is exempt from charges up to the point of admission as an inpatient to a ward, or if referred to a clinic for an outpatient appointment.
- Please note this exemption does not apply to emergency treatment provided after admission to a ward, CCU, ITU / HDU.
All clinic and outpatient appointments including x-rays, maternity, physiotherapy are chargeable unless you meet an exemption.
Visitors from the EEA
Any visitor from an European Economic Area (EEA) member state must show their European Health Insurance Card to access free healthcare. A valid EHIC entitles the patients to free treatment for conditions that arose during the visit which cannot wait until they return home.
If you cannot show either an EHIC or Provisional Replacement Card (PRC) you will be liable to pay for treatment.
Countries with a Bilateral Healthcare Agreement
Any visitors from countries with whom the UK has a Bilateral Healthcare Agreement will need to show proof that they are a national / resident (as appropriate) of the country, e.g. passport, residence permit, identity card, social security card, utility bill, passport etc. in order to be exempt from charges according to the agreement in place.
Pre-existing conditions that acutely exacerbate whilst in the UK, or in the opinion of a clinician need prompt treatment to prevent them from acutely exacerbating, e.g. dialysis, are also included.
Immediately necessary treatment
Immediately necessary treatment is that which a patient needs:
• to save their life, or
• to prevent a condition from becoming immediately life-threatening, or
• promptly to prevent permanent serious damage from occurring.
This treatment will always be provided irrespective of whether a patient has been informed of, or agreed to pay, charges. Also it will not be delayed or withheld to establish the patient's chargeable status or to seek payment.
All maternity services, including routine antenatal treatment, are treated as being immediately necessary.
Urgent treatment is that which clinicians do not consider immediately necessary, but which nevertheless cannot wait until the person can be reasonably expected to return home.
The Trust makes every effort to secure payment before treatment is scheduled but if that proves unsuccessful the treatment will not be delayed or withheld.
While the urgency of treatment is a matter of clinical judgement, this does not mean that the treatment should be unlimited; there may be some room for discretion about the extent of treatment and the time at which it is given.
Non-urgent treatment is routine elective treatment that could wait until the patient can return home.
The Trust will not provide non-urgent treatment unless the patient pays the full estimated cost of the treatment in advance. However, in order to decide if a patient's need for NHS hospital treatment is urgent or can safely wait until they return home, clinicians will need to know when a patient can reasonably be expected to return home. The decision can be made on the basis of this information.
The decision will be reassessed if the patient informs the Trust that their return date has been postponed for valid reasons or if their medical condition unexpectedly changes.
Overseas patients who have their baby during their visit to the UK.
If you are not ordinarily resident meaning someone who is living lawfully in the UK, and you do not meet an exemption you will be charged for your maternity care.
You are required to show evidence to support your exemption, examples include:
- A valid European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) or S2 certificate issued in your European country of residence.
- A valid visa of more than 6 months issued with a BRP having paid the Health Surcharge.
- A guarantee of payment issued by your insurance company covering maternity services, must be provided if possible prior to treatment.
- A valid passport or identity card if you are resident of a bilateral agreement country.
or more information on the maternity exemptions and charges, please contact the overseas business team.
Charges, tariff and payments
Overseas Visitors with travel insurance will be required to pay for their treatment and then claim back from their insurer when they return home, unless the Insurance company provides a Guarantee of Payment.
In line with the Current Government Regulations overseas visitors treated from the EEA without a European Health Insurance Card or PRC (Temporary Certificate) will be charged 100% tariff cost and Non-EEA overseas visitors 150% of tariff cost.
Payments will be taken from overseas patients at the earliest opportunity.
The Trust accepts the following forms of payment: cash, credit / debit card, bank transfer or cheque (this would need to be submitted and cleared in advance of treatment)
Please note the Trust does not accept American Express.
A final invoice will be raised upon discharge and any over or under payment or refund due will be arranged with the patient at this time.
Overseas visitors if chargeable will also be required to pay for their prescriptions in the same way as a resident of the UK does at the current prescription charge rate.
The current Department of Health Regulations for charging overseas patients can be found at:
If you have any further questions, please contact:
Lead overseas business manager
Wexham Park Hospital
0300 615 4049 / 07342 067121
Overseas business manager
Frimley Park Hospital
01252 649798 / 07920 415248