Visitor and migrants NHS cost recovery programme: impact assessment

Document type
Impact Assessment
Corporate author(s)
Great Britain. Department of Health
Department of Health
Date of publication
14 July 2014
Health Services
Social welfare
Material type

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NHS hospitals in England face significant challenges in terms of identifying, charging, and recovering income from visitors and migrants due to inefficiencies and complexities in the current system. Visitors and migrants are currently able to access free NHS care immediately or soon after arrival in the UK, leaving the NHS open to abuse. Government intervention is necessary to ensure fairness in the system so that visitors and migrants make an appropriate contribution to their use of NHS healthcare services. Intervention is also necessary to improve information flows and improve the efficiency of processes in the system and thereby increase the recovery of income. This document considers the impacts of two policy options:

  • Option 1: do nothing - no change to the current system of recovering costs (with health surcharge).
  • Option 2 (preferred option): improve the current system and implement a process to better identify chargeable patients through a series of phased improvements for secondary care including toolbox for staff; training; communications and engagement; incentives and improvements to secondary care IT systems.