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Chris Wormald said the ‘controversial’ proposal was not part of health service culture but that visitors from abroad did not have an automatic right to free care [Image: Andrew Milligan/PA].

Chris Wormald said the ‘controversial’ proposal was not part of health service culture but that visitors from abroad did not have an automatic right to free care [Image: Andrew Milligan/PA].


It seems the Department of Health is joining in the wave of immigrant-bashing sweeping the UK – and the western world – at the moment.

So let’s make something perfectly clear:

THERE IS NO JUSTIFICATION FOR ANY UK RESIDENT TO HAVE TO BRING THEIR PASSPORTS TO HOSPITAL BEFORE TREATMENT, NO MATTER WHETHER THEY ARE UK CITIZENS OR NOT.

Got that?

The only way anybody qualifies for service at an NHS hospital is if they have been referred by their GP – and that means they must be registered with that GP as an NHS patient.

Everybody living in the UK has the right to register with an NHS GP if they live within that doctor’s catchment area, even if they come from a foreign country.

Entitlement to free NHS treatment depends on the length and purpose of a foreign national’s residence in the UK, not their nationality.

Hospital treatment is free to people who are ordinarily resident in the UK – but then, these are people who would have registered with a GP, whose details will be on file and who would not, therefore, need to show a passport when seeking treatment.

In England, a visitor from the EEA will need to present a valid EHIC or other healthcare documents (such as S2 or S1 forms) or they may be charged for care. A visitor from a non-EEA country would need to ensure they are covered for healthcare through personal medical insurance for the duration of their visit, even if they are a former UK resident.

And many services in NHS hospitals are exempt from charges, meaning they are free to everybody – including Accident and Emergency.

So there is no reason for anyone to have to bring a passport with them to hospital. Either they are on the register, or they will have insurance, or they’ll need to pay – but only if the service requires it.

I can’t, at the moment, see any reason for hospitals to demand passports from people seeking treatment.

I cannot understand why the Department of Health’s permanent secretary, Chris Wormald, is trying to suggest this as a requirement…

… Unless he is simply trying to persecute foreigners – and that is not in his job description.

Source: Hospitals may require patients to show passports for NHS treatment | Society | The Guardian

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