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New law will force hospitals to charge foreign patients for non-urgent care

BMJ 2017; 358 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.j3371 (Published 13 July 2017) Cite this as: BMJ 2017;358:j3371
  1. Gareth Iacobucci
  1. The BMJ

The UK government is to press ahead with plans to make it a legal requirement for NHS hospitals to charge foreign visitors and migrants upfront for any non-urgent care received as part of its crackdown on so called health tourism.

New regulations—to be laid out in parliament “in due course,” a Department of Health spokesperson said—will kick start the government’s bid to recover £500m (€570m; $640m) a year in costs of treatment of patients from countries inside and outside the European Economic Area by the end of 2017-18, a target that the National Audit Office has said ministers will struggle to meet.1

The plans, initially set to be implemented on 1 April 2017,2 seemed to have …

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