HC Deb 17 July 2003 vol 409 c652W
Mr. Randall

To ask the Secretary of State for Health what income the NHS has received from payments from overseas patients that are not eligible for free treatment for each of the years since 1997. [126012]

Mr. Hutton

National health service trust accounts do not identify separately income generated from treatment of chargeable overseas visitors.

Mr. Randall

To ask the Secretary of State for Health what estimate he has made of the cost to the NHS of overseas patients who have received free medical treatment for which they have not been eligible in each of the last five years. [126015]

Mr. Hutton

The national health service is first and foremost for the benefit of people who live in the United Kingdom.

A person who is not ordinarily resident in the UK, but who requires NHS hospital treatment, is subject to the provisions of the provisions of the National Health Service (Charges to Overseas Visitors) Regulations 1989, as amended.

NHS trusts will take all reasonable measures to recover charges made to overseas visitors. Overseas visitors debt that is unrecoverable is written off and recorded in trust annual accounts. The overseas visitors bad debt written off for the last five years is shown in the table.

Amount written off (£)
1997–98 1.1 million
1998–99 854,000
1999–2000 1.2 million
2000–01 1.8 million
2001–02 1.3 million

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