Health dept’s most senior official is WRONG – passport checks are not needed before hospital treatment

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:


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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7 thoughts on “Health dept’s most senior official is WRONG – passport checks are not needed before hospital treatment

  1. Colin Glazebrook

    Could be he’s just ignorant of the facts, wouldn’t be the first Tory minister who didn’t know what he was talking about.

  2. joanna

    Another reason for the passport stupidity is, we all should have an individual NHS number attached to our documented information. If I want minor ailments treatment at a pharmacy who don’t know me, I have to provide my NHS number, what is wrong with that?

    A bit of added info, If you are diabetic and taking medication, working or not All other medications are Free.

  3. Jill Jervis

    Surely it’s whether or not an attendee has a NI number or hospital number. This would show whether or not they are resident in this country. You can’t work or claim benefits here unless you have an NI number

  4. mohandeer

    Whenever I am going to receive treatment in a hospital clinic I am informed by letter that I must be able to produce a passport or documents to show I am who I say I am and am a resident in the UK. I lost my passport many years ago when I sent it to a government agency (DWP or Local Housing Office) and since I never go abroad I won’t pay for a new one. I take my driver’s licence and utility bills but that’s all. When I drove myself to hospital and was rushed to Papworth(I was having a heart attack) I was not asked for any paperwork at the local hospital or Papworth and still had my first stent fitted as an emergency admission. I really don’t know why Chris Wormald is claiming otherwise or suggesting that the production of a passport should be necessary. Who would think to drive themselves to an A & E with documentation, I was in so much pain I just got in the car and drove(as you do when your desperate). The ambulance crews that have attended me(and the paramedics) have never requested proof of entitlement either, so I don’t understand what this chap’s is going on about. If we go to Spain or France we pay for Health Insurance, French citizens have to pay something over 200 Euros per month for their Health Insurance, because they do not have a NHS. If you are British the bought and paid for Health Insurance covers you for treatment and the same applies here if a foreign person visiting needs the NHS – they get a bill if they are not entitled to free treatment (because they haven’t paid into the NHS) or their insurance policy pays out presumably. If they do not have insurance and can’t pay, then I assumed that their country of origin foots the bill, if not, then the NHS would be the International Health Service which would be ridiculous because it couldn’t cope with funding every visiting foreign health care patient and would be broke no matter how much British tax payers pumped into it.
    Millions of Americans die each year because they cannot afford Healthcare Insurance or the medical treatment they need for a recovery. This is where the Conservative government is taking the British people and the NHS with their privatisation of hospital services etc. instead of funding a public service with money they want for themselves and the already wealthy supporters. Most of us accept we need to pay more to protect the NHS but the Tories do not want it to survive and ignore such advice. If the Conservatives through their irresponsible policies had not reduced Britain to a low waged economy, the NHS funding would be available. Either way it is the Tories who have cocked things up.
    We now know that we cannot circumnavigate our financial obligations to the EU for the next ten years, so we need a plan, which of course, under Conservative and Mrs. May’s “governance” such as it is, is the elephant in the room. Absolutely nothing to do with passports and other such twaddle being spouted.

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