Treatment of Overseas Visitors
Everyone who approaches a practice for treatment should be offered NHS primary care
The LMC understands that the Department of Health lawyers looking at the charging of overseas visitors for NHS services have decided that the GMS Regulations - as currently written - imply that any person, regardless of nationality, residence, or other factors, should be offered temporary registration or immediately necessary treatment if they approach a practice for medical care. In theory practices could probably refuse registration if they could demonstrate that such refusals were non-discriminatory, but it could well be deemed that it would be discriminatory if only non-UK residents were declined registration.
It looks as though this includes eligibility for NHS GP prescriptions, but we think it would be reasonable to restrict the duration of these to the length of time that the patient is going to be in the country. So, if a patient is visiting for a week and comes requesting his or her routine medication, they should be offered just enough for their stay in England.
No-one can be charged directly for NHS primary medical care but if you are aware that a patient is chargeable or holds an EHIC, S1 or S2, it is helpful if you let the hospital know this when referring the patient to secondary care. The hospital’s overseas visitor manager will use this information to recover the costs of care provided in hospital.