Health Services: Foreign Nationals

Department of Health written question – answered on 20th January 2017.

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Photo of Anne Main Anne Main Conservative, St Albans

To ask the Secretary of State for Health, what estimate his Department has made of the cost to the NHS of treating foreign visitors to the UK; and what information his Department holds on the (a) nationality of and (b) health services accessed by those patients in each year since 2010.

Photo of Philip Dunne Philip Dunne The Minister of State, Department of Health

National Health Service trusts do not report patient care by nationality.

An independent report by Prederi, entitled “Quantitative assessment of visitor and migrant use of the NHS in England” was commissioned by the Department to understand better the impact of treating visitors and migrants and was published on 22 October 2013. The report estimated the gross value of NHS-funded healthcare provided to non-European Economic Area visitors and temporary migrants was approximately £2 billion per year.

Trusts provide data within their annual accounts showing information on the cash recovered in-year relating to invoices raised in current and previous years. Since 2013-14, the Department has been collecting data on the amount invoiced by NHS trusts and NHS foundation trusts, together with amounts recovered and written off by those organisations.

NHS trusts will take appropriate steps to recover any debts incurred by patients, including reporting the debt to the Department. Immigration Rules enable the Home Office to refuse a person with an outstanding NHS debt of £500 or more entry to, or further leave to remain in, the UK until the debt is paid. The Department shares information for this purpose with the Home Office and provides trusts with guidance on how and when to do so safely and appropriately.

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