NHS to make overseas patients pay upfront for health tourism treatments

Published on : Friday, February 24, 2017

NHSEarlier in this month, Britain’s right-wing tabloid press criticized about the damage “health tourism” was doing to the National Health Service (NHS). Rupert Murdoch’s Sun fathomed new depths, condemning a supposed “£500k health tourist,” who in fact was an expectant mother, returning to Nigeria from the US when she experienced complications and had to be taken to hospital from Heathrow.


The woman had been transferred from another hospital nearby due to complications during the pregnancy and the babies spent two months on the pediatric intensive care unit. The SUN criticized NHS staff too.

NHS trusts may be forced to make overseas patients pay upfront for non-urgent care under a new proposal announced by Jeremy Hunt. Under this move, healthcare professionals will require to establish whether people flying to the UK for non-urgent treatment such as a hip operation or cataract removal are eligible for help and make sure they are able to pay before their treatment begins.


The new rules mean patients must be told beforehand that they have to pay but can decide not to have the treatment if they cannot. The measurement is the latest proposal intended to cut down on so-called “health tourism”.

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