We follow the guidance laid out on the Government website. Below are the sections relevant to us, as a GP practice.
Anyone in England can register and consult with a GP without charge.
GPs are self-employed and have contracts with NHS England to provide services for the National Health Service.
An application to join a practice may only be refused if the practice has reasonable grounds for doing so, but a practice cannot refuse an application on the grounds of:
- social class
- sexual orientation
- medical condition
The practice will ask the patient to complete a New Patient Registration form as part of their application to register with a practice, and those who are not ordinarily resident in the UK will be requested to complete supplementary questions to indicate details of their valid non-UK EHIC/S1 form (if applicable) or if, where known, they consider themselves to be exempt from charge or chargeable for NHS secondary care services (should these be needed).
GP practices are not required to request any proof of identity or of immigration status from patients wishing to register. Some GP practices will, however, ask to see proof of identity with the patient’s name and date of birth, such as:
- driving licence
- application registration card (ARC)
- IS96 or a Home Office letter
- and proof of address, such as:
- a recent utility bill (gas, electricity, water or landline phone bill)
- council tax bill
NHS guidance clearly outlines that a practice cannot refuse a patient because they do not have identification or proof of address.
Where a patient applies to register with a general practice and is subsequently turned down, the GP must nevertheless provide, free of charge, any immediately necessary treatment that is requested by the applicant for a period of up to 14 days (this can vary according to circumstances).
If a GP practice refuses to register a patient the practice must notify the applicant, in writing, of the refusal and the reason for it, within 14 days of its decision.
The Standard General Medical Services Contract and the National Health Service (General Medical Services Contracts) regulations 2004 explain this requirement.
Where a person has difficulty in registering for National Health Services with a primary medical services contractor, they can contact:
These services can discuss what help is available locally.
If a person goes to a GP for treatment whilst visiting the UK and is treated as a private patient then any prescription would also be private and would have to be paid for privately.
If a GP accepts a person as an NHS patient (either full or temporary) and gives the patient an NHS prescription (FP10) then normal charging rules apply.
Immigration Health Surcharge for Non-European Economic Area Nationals
Those who have paid the surcharge (or who are exempt from having to pay it or have had the requirement waived) can use the NHS on a similar same basis as an ordinarily resident person while their visa remains valid, although they still need to pay for certain services, including prescriptions, dental treatment, and assisted conception services.
The surcharge is £300 per year for students and those on Youth Mobility visas and £400 per year for all other visa and immigration applications. Dependents have to pay the same amount.
Some exemptions exist for people who do not need to pay the surcharge, including those:
- seeking asylum or applying for humanitarian protection (or their dependents)
- identified as a victim of human trafficking (or their dependents)
- applying for indefinite leave to remain
- who the Home Office’s domestic violence concession applies to (or their dependents)
- where being made to leave the UK would be against their rights under Article 3 of the European Convention of Human Rights (or their dependents)
Individuals who have a visitor visa and those with a visa for under 6 months need to pay for any healthcare at the point of use unless an exemption from charge category applies.
See the Pay for UK healthcare as part of your immigration application page for a full list of exemptions and further information.
Visitors from Reciprocal Healthcare Agreement Countries and the European Economic Area (EEA)
People who are visiting the UK from a country which has a bilateral healthcare agreement with the UK are exempt from charges for some NHS hospital treatment in the UK.
To see what level of cover is provided, see the NHS.uk website.
People from EEA member states and Switzerland are exempt from charge for all medically necessary treatment, including treatment for chronic conditions, including routine monitoring. They must show a valid European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) or a Provisional Replacement Certificate to receive free care.
Pre-planned treatment is not included free of charge without special, prior arrangement. Residents of EEA member states should speak to the authorities in their home country if they wish to come to the UK specifically to receive treatment.