Is there a fee for my treatment?
NHS services are not free for everyone or every treatment. If you’re visiting us from another country and you use our services, you may have to pay for your care.
Anyone of any nationality (including British citizens) who do not normally reside in the UK at the time of their treatment are classed as ‘overseas visitors’. This means that they may be charged for the treatment they receive.
At Gateshead Health, we are legally obliged – as is the case with all NHS hospitals – to establish whether a person is an overseas visitor and whether charges apply.
It is possible that exemptions may be in place or the country where the patient normally resides has a reciprocal agreement with the UK.
However, if there is no exemption or reciprocal agreement in place, the person receiving treatment will be charged for the care they receive.
If you come to Gateshead for treatment, we will give you a form to complete and ask you to provide documents to prove that you are ordinarily resident in the UK.
Without the documents, you may have to pay a deposit equal to the estimated cost of your treatment before any appointment or treatment can be given.
However, we will not withhold maternity services, or any other treatment which the doctor or nurse thinks is immediately necessary or urgent. In the case of urgent and immediate treatment being given, you will receive an invoice after your treatment.
Being ordinarily resident in the UK is not a given, just because you have British nationality or hold a British passport.
Similarly, UK residency is not proven just because you:
- are registered with a GP
- have an NHS number
- own property in the UK
- have paid (or are currently paying) National Insurance contributions and taxes in this country.
Being ordinarily resident in the UK is a question of fact which takes in many factors.
Failure to pay
If you do not pay for NHS treatment you have received after being appropriately billed, this may have a negative impact on your future application to enter or remain in the UK.
Personal information which is non-medical can be passed to the Home Office for this purpose.
Patient data can also be used for overseas debt recovery purposes. Please see our privacy statement for full details.
Some NHS services, such as family planning and the treatment of certain infectious diseases, are free to everyone. Treatment in our emergency department (A&E) is free until the point an overseas visitor is admitted as an inpatient, seen by separate specialist doctor within A&E following triage, or given an outpatient appointment.
Emergency treatment elsewhere in the hospital, such as in coronary care and further emergency or urgent treatment after admission, is chargeable.
Patients living in European Economic Area (EEA) countries
This section is subject to change following the UK’s exit from the European Union.
If you access our services because the need arose during a visit to the UK, you will need to show us your European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) or a provisional replacement card.
If you do not have these documents with you, you will be required to pay for your treatment and recover the costs when you return home.
If you are unsure whether you need to pay for NHS treatment, have any concerns or need more information, you can find it on the NHS websiteHow to access NHS services in England if you are visiting from abroad.