NHS to charge non-EU patients 150% of cost of treatment

The Guardian reports that patients from outside the EU are to be charged 150% of the cost of NHS treatment under government plans to deter so-called health tourism.

The Department of Health said on Monday that the charges could save the health service up to £500m a year and would prevent “abuse” of the system by visitors and migrants. The health secretary, Jeremy Hunt, said the charges would be accompanied by greater scrutiny of recovery of fees by NHS trusts, who will face fines if they fail to identify and bill chargeable patients.

“We have no problem with international visitors using the NHS as long as they pay for it – just as British families do through their taxes,” said Hunt. “These plans will help recoup up to £500m a year, making sure the NHS is better resourced and more sustainable at a time when doctors and nurses on the frontline are working very hard.”