UK extends NHS charging for visitors and migrants

The Government of UK has announced that visitors and migrants who wish to use NHS services will have to pay.

Under the new rules, charging for primary care services such as prescriptions will be extended to visitors and migrants.

GP and nurse consultations will remain free, meaning that all will continue to have initial access to prevent risks to public health such as HIV, TB and sexually transmitted infections.

Other types of primary care services that are being considered for charging include minor surgery that is carried out by a GP and physiotherapy that has been referred through a GP.

Overseas visitors will be required to pay higher charges for services that are subsidised for patients entitled to free NHS care. These include optical and dental services which are currently highly subsidised.

The government has also introduced a new system for identifying and recording patients who should be charged for NHS services.

It has also introduced the charging for A&E services for visitors and migrants including emergency care.

Department of Health has however, assured that no one will be turned away in an emergency.

Health Minister Lord Howe said: “Having a universal health service free at the point of use rightly makes us the envy of the world, but we must make sure the system is fair to the hardworking British taxpayers who fund it.

“We know that we need to make changes across the NHS to better identify and charge visitors and migrants. Introducing charging at primary care is the first step to achieving this.”

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