Health Services: Asylum

Department of Health and Social Care written question – answered on 26th January 2018.

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Photo of Baroness Taylor of Bolton Baroness Taylor of Bolton Chair, Constitution Committee

To ask Her Majesty's Government how they intend to recover the cost of NHS treatment from failed asylum seekers.

Photo of Lord O'Shaughnessy Lord O'Shaughnessy The Parliamentary Under-Secretary for Health and Social Care

Some groups of failed asylum seekers are exempt from charge for National Health Service secondary care under the NHS (Charges to Overseas Visitors) Regulations 2015, as amended.

In situations where charges do apply to overseas visitors for NHS secondary care, including where the person is a failed asylum seeker, providers of that care must make and recover charges from the person liable where this is possible.

Where a clinician considers the need of the overseas visitor to be non-urgent in that treatment can safely wait until the person returns to their home country, payment must be received in advance of the provision of the treatment.

Immediately necessary treatment or urgent treatment, which clinicians assess as being unable to wait the person’s return to their home country, will not be withheld pending payment. It is a matter for the provider of NHS secondary care services what measures it takes to recover costs from overseas visitors that have received services to which they are not entitled free of charge, which might include agreeing a repayment plan with the patient or writing the debt off as unrecoverable.

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