In the UK most healthcare is free to people who have the right to remain in the country and some others. If you are a visitor to the UK, or immigrating, you might not be sure what treatment you can get from the NHS at hospitals or through a doctor. HIV treatment is free to everyone, but other healthcare might cost.
There may be charges for some NHS services, for example, dental treatment and prescriptions but you may be entitled to help with these charges depending on your circumstances.
Free NHS treatment does not count as recourse to public funds and does not affect a persons immigration status. However outstanding bills for treatment may affect your immigration status.
Some hospital treatment is free of charge for everyone who needs it, regardless of their status in the UK. This is:-
In October 2012 rules on the provision of HIV treatment to people subject to immigration control changed. From that date, HIV treatment became free, for all who need it. NHS Trusts have a duty to recover charges wherever reasonable and do not have the right to wave charges, although they do have the discretion to write off charges.
Find on out more on the Department of Health website.
From 1st October 2012 all charges for HIV treatment for anyone who is resident in the UK, regardless of their residence status, will be abolished.
However non-HIV NHS treatment may still be chargeable, unless it can be directly linked to your HIV. Find out more.
Although it can be extremely alarming to receive a bill for thousands of pounds of hospital treatment, you may be able to negotiate a realistic solution with the hospital.
It's important that you continue to take your treatment and here are some things you can do in the meantime:
Mistakes are sometimes made – you may be entitled to free treatment, but are still sent a bill. Get in touch with THT Direct and we’ll put you in touch with a local advice service, or you can look up your local CAB.
Download Will I have to pay? for further details.
There are many different rules concerning entitlement to free NHS hospital treatment. Here are some of the main rules, however if they do not apply to you, it is advisable to contact either THT Direct or NHS Direct for further advice as there are many more.
A person who is not ordinarily resident in the UK is entitled to receive free NHS hospital treatment, including non-emergency treatment and treatment for pre-existing conditions, if s/he:-
From 1 October 2012 all charges for HIV treatment for anyone who is resident in the UK, regardless of their residence status, will be abolished.
However non-HIV NHS treatment may still be chargeable, unless it can be directly linked to your HIV. Find out more on the Department of Health website.
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Hi I am a Uk citizen wishing to go live in spain.
I would like to know how i go about getting my medication abroad if i do that.
I want a new start new life and wont be earning a fortune as only working 3 days and renting a place with a friend.
Is it illegal to keep popping home to the uk for my medication and how do I get it in spain if it is.
Thanks for any help david
This article was last reviewed on
by T. Kelaart
Date due for the next review: 31/1/2014
Content Author: E. Cotton
Current Owner: Advice & Advocacy
Seddon, Duran. Immigration, Nationality and Refugee Law Handbook, JCWI, 2006
UK Border Agency
Asylum seekers, Department of Health
Am I entitled to NHS treatment when I move to England?, NHS
HIV treatment for overseas visitors, Department of Health
Revised guidance on overseas visitors hospital charging regulations published
Changes to NHS charging rules for HIV from October 2012
Adviser Net: 10.6.3.5 NHS treatment for people from abroad
Memory talks about living with HIV
George House Trust
Equality and Human Rights Commission
Work Life - Your Work, Your Health, Your Life
CAB - Citizens Advice Bureau
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