Patient and visitor information

Overseas visitors information

If you are visiting the United Kingdom and require treatment in our hospitals, you may have to pay for your treatment.

This page gives you more details about treatment for overseas visitors.


Resident of the UK?

NHS hospital treatment is not free for everyone. Anyone of any nationality who is not ordinarily resident in the UK at the time of treatment is an ‘Overseas Visitor’. This means that they may be charged for the treatment they receive at The Newcastle Hospitals Trust.

NHS hospitals have a legal obligation to establish whether a person is an overseas visitor, and whether charges apply or they have an exemption. Where there is no exemption, we must charge the person liable and recover the costs from them.

Establishing residency

If you come to us for treatment, you may be asked to complete a form and provide documents to prove that you are ordinarily resident in the UK.

If you can’t provide the documents you may have to pay a deposit equal to the estimated cost of your treatment before you have an appointment or treatment. 

Maternity services, or treatment which the doctor or nurse thinks is immediately necessary or urgent, will not be withheld. However charges will still apply and you will receive an invoice after your treatment.

A person does not become ordinarily resident in the UK simply by:

  • having British nationality
  • holding a British passport
  • being registered with a GP
  • having an NHS number
  • owning property in the UK
  • having paid (or are currently paying) National Insurance contributions and taxes in this country.

Whether a person is ordinarily resident is a question of fact, for which a number of factors are taken into account.

Failure to pay

If you fail to pay for NHS treatment for which charges are appropriate, your future application to enter, or remain in the UK may be denied.

Necessary (non-medical) personal information may be passed via the Department of Health to the Home Office for this purpose.

Free treatment

Some NHS services are free to everyone. This includes family-planning services and treatment of certain infectious diseases. Treatment at the Emergency Department is free only up to the point an overseas visitor is admitted as an inpatient, or given an outpatient appointment.

This means that emergency treatment elsewhere in the hospital such as coronary care and further emergency or urgent treatment after admission, is chargeable.

Patients living in European Economic Area (EEA) countries

If you access our services because the need arose during your visit to the UK, you will need to show us your European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) or a Provisional Replacement Card (PRC).

If you do not have these documents with you, you cannot demonstrate that you have an exemption to charges. You will be required to pay for your treatment and recover the costs from your ‘healthcare abroad team’ when you return home.

More information

If you have any concerns or need more information, please contact:

  • NHS Eligibility Co-ordinator, 8.30am – 5.00pm Monday to Friday
  • Tel: 0191 282 0591

 or:

  • Patient Advice and Liaison Service  
  • Tel: 0800 032 0202

You can find more information on the NHS Choices website.

You can also download the information on this page as a PDF file.pdf

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