The NHS is for residents of the UK only, regardless of holding a British passport, having an NHS number, paid taxes / NI in the past or having a doctor.
It is a legal obligation to recover charges for NHS treatment if you do not meet an exemption. It is your responsibility to prove that you are entitled to free NHS treatment, without sufficient evidence you will be liable for any treatment received.
Our emergency department is exempt from charges up to the point of admission.
These 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. In some cases a refund from the country of residence may apply.
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.
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 will always be provided irrespective of whether or not the 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.
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 returning home unless the insurer provides a guarantee of payment.
In line with the current Department of Health regulations Overseas visitors treated from the EEA without a European Health Insurance Card will be charged 100% of tariff cost and NON EEA Overseas visitors 150% of tariff cost.
Payments will be taken from admitted overseas patients at the earliest opportunity at a rate of:
- £1000 per night for EEA patients
- £1500 per night for Non EEA patients
A final invoice will be raised upon discharged and any over payment refunded or under payment requested from the patient.
The current Department of Health Regulations for charging overseas patients can be found at:
If you have any further questions, please contact:
Overseas business manager
Frimley Park Hospital
01252 649798 / 07920 415248
Overseas business manager
Wexham Park Hospital
01753 634049 / 07342 067121
Lead overseas business manager
Frimley Park Hospital / Wexham Park Hospital