Foreign health patients saddle Scottish NHS with £3m bill

Only people not “ordinarily resident” in the UK are charged for using NHS services, but GPs are not required to establish a patient’s country of residence or ask for any identification documents.

The report identified a varied and inconsistent approach by boards in Scotland, with some not reclaiming costs, and the committee called on the Scottish Government to establish a standardised system to identify those not eligible for free care.

Its convener, Labour MSP Lewis Macdonald, said: “The committee supports the principle that anybody in Scotland can access GP services or AE departments free of charge when needed. However, we are concerned that NHS boards are missing out on vital sums of money by not being able to identify those entitled to NHS care. 

“We believe the Scottish Government should begin a review immediately, and have asked them to adopt a clearer and more unified approach to ensure access to NHS treatment is applied fairly and consistently.”

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