Charging for NHS care
Project 17 opposes all charging for NHS care.
We view charging for healthcare as dangerous and unworkable. It creates public health risks as people without the funds to pay for treatment will delay getting help, leading to more costly emergency intervention, and potentially disastrous results for individuals.
Currently, everyone without leave to remain (except asylum seekers and refused asylum seekers in receipt of Home Office support) is chargeable for secondary healthcare provided by the NHS. Care that is deemed 'immediate and necessary' is provided first and then charged afterwards. Care that is not immediate and necessary must be paid for ahead of the treatment. This means, for example, that:
- Families applying for leave to remain on human rights grounds - and waiting for their applications to be processed - can be charged. Immigration applications can often take years to process, and during that time it is accepted that applicants have a right to remain the UK to wait for the outcome
- Parents of undocumented children over 3 months' old are charged for any care their children receive. This is the case even if the child was born in the UK and has never lived anywhere else
- Women are charged for maternity care
- Families in receipt of section 17 support are charged, even though they are likely to be destitute and unable to leave the UK
There is more information about the charging regime from the NRPF Network here.