Patients: Nationality

Health written question – answered on 27th February 2012.

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Photo of Henry Smith Henry Smith Member, European Scrutiny Committee 27th February 2012

To ask the Secretary of State for Health whether he has any plans to require NHS trusts to capture nationality information of patients being treated for the purposes of (a) auditing costs through the European Health Insurance Card scheme and (b) recovering appropriate costs for the treatment of non-EEA nationals.

Photo of Simon Burns Simon Burns The Minister of State, Department of Health 27th February 2012

The Government have a large programme of work under way designed to improve data capture within the national health service in order for the United Kingdom to submit successful claims against other European Economic Area (EEA) countries for treatment provided under the European Health Insurance Card scheme. Nationality data is not the key factor in this regard, rather, it is the card detail and information of the insuring member state.

With regard to treatment of non-EEA nationals, there are no plans to require NHS trusts to capture nationality data. Entitlement to free NHS hospital treatment is dependent on ordinary residence in the UK, not nationality. Where charges apply to overseas visitors to the UK the NHS is advised not to provide treatment without receiving payment in advance unless the treatment is urgent or immediately necessary. NHS bodies take measures to recover debts from those not entitled to free treatment, and many already record patient details, including nationality, in case this proves necessary to assist them in that debt recovery.

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