Soon foreigners could be charged for using NHS A&E, ambulance and GP services

Lynsey Barber
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General Election - National Health Service
The NHS will be able to charge for more services if plans go ahead (Source: Getty)

People using health services may soon be charged for them if they are not from Britain under new proposals.

The government will begin consulting on plans to recover the costs of using services run by the NHS, including visits to GPs and Accident and Emergency departments, from foreign visitors and migrants. The move, which would extend the scope of existing charges for non-urgent treatments, could save £500m each year.

"We want to make sure that everyone makes a fair contribution to services, by extending charging to make sure visitors pay for the care they receive, said health secretary Jeremy Hunt. "This government was the first to introduce tough measures to clampdown on migrants accessing the NHS and these changes will recover up to £500m per year to put back into frontline patient care."

GP services that would be charged include x-rays, diagnostic tests, physiotherapy, blood tests, lung function tests, prescriptions, plus dental treatment and eye care costs.

A&E care would include filling wounds, draining fluids, x-rays, setting broken bones and intensive care in A&E before being admitted while the costs of ambulance treatment and transport costs would also be billed.

Vulnerable groups - refugees and asylum seekers - will not be charged.

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