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Overseas patient leaflet - Emergency department

Patient information A-Z

We understand that attending hospital can be a stressful experience, so we would like to make it as easy as possible for you to understand the information that will be required by our staff to establish your entitlement to NHS services.

The NHS is not free to everyone, and overseas visitors must be charged for specified services, including NHS services, so we will be asking you to provide us with information and certain documents to support your claim for free treatment.

The Department of Health Overseas Charging Regulations place a legal obligation on the Trust to recover the cost of NHS services where an individual is not entitled to free treatment.

Further information is available on the NHS website.

Any care delivered within the hospital Emergency Department is exempt from the charging regulations.

Hospital treatment is only free to people classed as ordinarily resident in the UK, which means you must be living lawfully and voluntarily in the UK for settled purposes.This is not dependant on nationality, payment of UK taxes, National Insurance contributions, being registered with a GP, having an NHS number or owning property in the UK.

If you are a visitor from the EEA, you will need to present a valid European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) along with proof of your nationality or you may be charged for your care.

If you do not have an EHIC card you can apply for a Provisional Replacement Certificate (PRC) this is an emergency document which will provide the same level of cover as the EHIC and is dated for the period of your visit to the UK. Further information is available here.

If you are visiting from outside the EEA and are on holiday or working, then we will ask you to provide proof of your nationality, usually your passport including your visa, as well as details of your travel insurance policy.

If you are coming for more than six months, you may need to pay the Immigration Health Surcharge as part of your visa application. This means you will receive treatment on the same basis as an ordinary resident of the country.

If you have been living or working in the UK for over six months, or have been granted leave to remain then it is possible that you will be classed as ‘ordinarily resident’ we will need you to provide us with documents to prove your identity, where you live and work.

If you are a student you will require an EHIC card (EEA only), a copy of your Passport and Visa, Biometric Residents Permit (BRP), or proof of travel insurance to cover your stay in the UK.

We will also require a letter from your UK school, college or university.

Chargeable patients

If we are unable to verify your entitlement to free NHS treatment, or you are a chargeable patient, you will be asked to make payment for your treatment costs. This payment will be based on your initial clinical diagnosis and we will try and provide you with an idea of the cost in advance. Please be aware this cost will increase as treatment progresses.

Immediately necessary or urgent services including maternity services

Clinically assessed immediate, urgent and maternity care will not be withheld on the basis of ability to pay even though you remain liable for the treatment cost.

Non-urgent or elective treatment

Will be withheld by law from chargeable overseas visitors until the estimated full cost of the service has been paid. The decision to treat will be based on clinical opinion.

Insured patients

We require a guarantee of payment from your health or travel insurance company in advance of treatment. Where this cannot be provided it is Trust policy to charge you in full. It will be your responsibility to reclaim this amount from your Insurer.

Following your discharge from our care, we will issue you a final invoice.

Please note that this may differ from the initial estimate. Any overpayment will be refunded once the final invoice has been issued and any further costs become due for payment immediately.

We ask you to pay your invoice as soon as possible after receiving it. If you have any financial difficulties please contact us. Unpaid invoices outstanding for 3 months will be referred to the Trusts’ Debt Collection Agency and in some circumstances if the debt is over £500, referred to the UK Border Agency; this may affect future applications to enter or remain in the UK.

If you are at all worried about fees and charges before or after your visit, or if you have any questions please do not hesitate to contact our team by calling +44 01223 216999 or by email and we will be happy to help.

We are smoke-free

Smoking is not allowed anywhere on the hospital campus. For advice and support in quitting, contact your GP or the free NHS stop smoking helpline on 0800 169 0 169.

Other formats

Help accessing this information in other formats is available. To find out more about the services we provide, please visit our patient information help page (see link below) or telephone 01223 256998.

Contact us

Cambridge University Hospitals
NHS Foundation Trust
Hills Road, Cambridge

Telephone +44 (0)1223 245151