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Immigration and healthcare

patient taking perscription from doctor

If you are an overseas visitor with HIV you might be worried that you cannot get NHS treatment. The rules about who can and who can’t get NHS treatment are complex, and often change.

Will I have to pay for NHS treatment and care?

At present, everyone is entitled to access to NHS primary care, including free care from a GP, whatever their immigration status. If you are having trouble registering with a GP or getting dental care, for example, you can contact THT Direct for help.

Even if your immigration status means that you are not normally eligible for free NHS hospital care, HIV treatment is provided free of charge to anyone who needs it. Treatment for some infectious diseases, including tuberculosis (TB) and hepatitis, is also free.

Hospitals must also give you essential treatment for any other condition that is ‘life threatening’. The doctors will decide what treatment is essential.

In this situation, the hospital may still ask you to pay later, but must first give you the medicines that you need. You cannot be refused essential treatment because you won’t be able to pay the bill. If a person has no income at all, the hospital may simply cancel the debt.

Download Will I have to pay? for further details or visit our immigration pages.



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The Information Standard: Certified member

This article was last reviewed on 16/7/2014 by R. Bignami

Date due for the next review: 16/7/2016

Content Author: R. Pebody (NAM)

Current Owner: G. Hughson (NAM)

More information:

National Health Service (General Medical Services Contracts) Regulations 2004 NHS, 2004

The National Health Service (Charges to Overseas Visitors) Amendment Regulations 2012

Department of Health Guidance on overseas visitors hospital charging regulations, updated October 2013

NAT/THT – Will I have to pay? October 2012