An overseas patient is someone who is not ordinarily resident in the United Kingdom (UK) and does not permanently live in the UK. If you are visiting the UK, or have been living outside the UK for more than 3 months, you may have to pay for NHS hospital treatment whilst you are here. This is regardless of whether you are a British citizen or have lived or worked here in the past.
If you are on holiday or visiting the UK and the need for your treatment is urgent and cannot wait until you return home, your hospital care will be the same as for any NHS patient. The only difference is that some overseas visitors may be have to pay for their NHS hospital treatment, whilst for others there are agreements between international governments to cover the cost, and special arrangements apply for countries in the European Union.
The Department of Health regulations require all NHS Trusts in England to identify and charge overseas patients for hospital treatment they receive. This is a legal requirement.
If you can show that you have lived in the UK legally for the last 12 months or more, and have a right to do so, then you will be entitled to free NHS hospital treatment.
Examples of acceptable proof of right of residence are a valid passport and entry clearance documents such as valid visa, valid to enter/remain stamp.
Examples of acceptable proof of residence are a housing contract, utility bills and bank statements.
Upon arrival at hospital you will be asked to confirm how long you have lived in the UK.
If you have not lived or cannot prove you have lived in the UK for the last 12 months, you will be interviewed by an Overseas Patients Officer who will talk to you about what happens next.
You may be required to pay for your treatment and the Overseas Patients Officer will be able to advise you on this. If you are liable to pay then the cost of your treatment will be explained and you will be asked to pay before you receive your treatment. If the complete cost of the treatment is not known at this point, you will be given a guide price and you will be entitled for a refund if this is more than the actual cost of your treatment.
If your treatment is not exempt from charges, you will be asked to sign an Undertaking to Pay Form which confirms your details, home address, and a copy of the Trust's overseas patient terms and conditions.
This information is held by Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust and the Department of Health to ensure the NHS resources are utilised appropriately and to maintain agreements with international governments to cover the cost of treatment.
The documents below set out the terms and conditions of treatment and payment for overseas patients and the undertaking to pay form. You will be asked to read and sign the forms if you have to pay for treatment.
If you believe you are liable to pay please ensure you bring payment with you. The Trust accepts the following forms of payment:
- Credit/Debit Card (excluding AMEX)
When you pay you will be provided with a receipt for your records. If you are unable to pay the full amount prior to receiving your treatment, it will not affect the level of urgent care you will receive.
Where can I get further information?
If you have any questions please contact the Private & Overseas Patients Team who will be able to help at:
The Private Patients Office
Service Agreements Department
Leeds Teaching Hospitals Trust
PO BOX 17 Trust Headquarters Post Room
St James's University Hospital
Beckett Street, Leeds
Telephone: 0113 2066912
Fax: 0113 2064629
You can also find further information at the Department of Health overseas visitors pages