National Insurance

House of Lords written question – answered on 7th December 2010.

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Photo of Lord Laird Lord Laird UUP

To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the Written Answer by Lord Sassoon on 16 November (WA 196), whether the exclusion from national insurance contributions in Regulation 145(2) or (3) of the Social Security (Contributions) Regulations 2001, designed to keep non-European economic area temporary visiting workers out of the United Kingdom social security scheme, means that those excluded are required to pay for use of the National Health Service; and what estimate they have made of social security savings due to the exclusion.

Photo of Earl Howe Earl Howe The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Health

Entitlement to free National Health Service hospital treatment is based on ordinary residence in the United Kingdom, not on nationality or the payment of UK taxes or national insurance contributions. Under the National Health Service (Charges to Overseas Visitors) Regulations 1989, as amended, some people who are not considered ordinarily resident in the UK-overseas visitors-are exempt from charges for NHS hospital treatment. These include those in the UK for the purpose of working with a UK-based employer or a UK-registered branch of an overseas company. Any overseas visitor who is not exempt from charges will be chargeable for their treatment.

Primary medical care contractors (GPs) are self-employed and have contracts with the local primary care trust to provide services for the NHS. Under the terms of those contracts, GPs have a measure of discretion in accepting applications to join their patient lists. However, they cannot turn down an applicant on the grounds of race, gender, social class, age, religion, sexual orientation, appearance, disability or medical condition. Registration with a GP does not equate to entitlement to free NHS hospital treatment.

Statistics on the amount of social security savings made due to the exclusion from national insurance contributions of non-European economic area temporary visiting workers are not available.

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