Patients & Visitors

Overseas Patients

Private and Overseas Patient Team

The team is available Monday to Friday, 9am – 5pm, except Bank Holidays.

Entitlement to NHS-funded care

Hospital treatment is free to people classed as "ordinarily resident" in the UK.

To be considered ordinarily resident, you must be:

  • Legally resident in the UK
  • Live in the UK on a lawful and properly settled basis for the time being

Nationals of countries outside the European Economic Area (EEA) must also have indefinite leave to remain in the UK in order to be "ordinarily resident" here. For a detailed definition about what ordinarily resident means, see the Department of Health Overseas Charging Regulations.

An overseas visitor is defined as any person who is not "ordinarily resident" in the UK. This may therefore include British nationals who now live overseas (ex-pats) who may therefore not be entitled to free NHS hospital care. British nationality, payment of UK taxes, National Insurance contributions, being registered with a GP, having an NHS Number or owning property in the UK do not necessarily confirm a status of 'ordinarily resident'.

We will always provide treatment that a clinician has assessed as immediately necessary or urgent. All maternity treatment is regarded as immediately necessary. Treatment is not free however by virtue of it being immediately necessary or urgent and you will still be charged.

Checking eligibility

NHS Trusts have a legal obligation to identify patients who are not entitled to free NHS treatment and to make and recover charges for the NHS services provided. To establish your eligibility we may ask you questions about your residential status. You should be prepared to provide evidence if requested.

Evidence may include proof of identity and proof of residency. It is the responsibility of the patient to provide evidence, when requested, to demonstrate that they are entitled to free NHS treatment. When evidence is not provided, treatment will be charged for.

Visitors from the European Economic Area (EEA) or Switzerland

If you are a visitor from the EEA or Switzerland, you will need to present a valid EHIC or other healthcare documents (such as S2 or S1 forms) or you may be charged for your care.

We will recoup the cost of your care from your country of residence.

Visitors from outside the European Economic Area (non-EEA)

If you are visiting England from a non-EEA country, you need to ensure you are covered for healthcare through personal medical insurance for the duration of your visit, even if you are a former UK resident. Please bring your insurance documentation with you when you come to the hospital.

If you are coming for more than six months, you may need to pay the immigration health surcharge. For more information please click here.

National guidance states that for treatment assessed by a clinician as non-urgent the full estimated cost of treatment must be paid before treatment is provided. This will include the cost of initial assessment and investigations to make a diagnosis.

Emergency Care

Some services or treatments carried out in an NHS hospital are exempt from charges, so they are free to all.

These include:

  • accident and emergency services – not including emergency treatment if admitted to hospital
  • family planning services – this does not include termination of pregnancy or infertility treatment
  • treatment for most infectious diseases, including sexually transmitted infections (STIs)
  • treatment required for a physical or mental condition caused by torture, female genital mutilation, domestic violence or sexual violence – this does not apply if you have come to England to seek this treatment

Prescription costs and dental charges

Patients in England are required to make contributions towards the cost of their NHS care, such as paying prescription costs or dental charges. You will be required to make the same contributions.

Please contact the Private and Overseas Patient team for more information or to book an appointment to provide your documentation.

Interpreter and Translation Services

We are committed to ensuring that all of our patients, including non-English speakers, receive the support and information they need to access services, communicate with healthcare staff and make informed decisions about their care and treatment.

Wards, clinics and departments can access speech and sign language interpreter services for patients who require them. Speech interpreter services are generally provided using a telephone-based service.

If you or your carer needs communication support in one of the following formats please contact the ward, clinic or department you are visiting as soon as possible.

For more information, please visit our Interpretation and Translation page.

If you are unsure who to contact then please contact :

The Patient Advice & Liaison Service (PALS):

Further Information

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