Identifying Overseas Patients
The new GMS1 form has sections on it for patients to complete regarding their country of origin and details of EHIC or PRC card.
All patients, irrespective of their country of origin, are entitled to free access to general practice services. However, secondary care services are not free to all overseas visitors. NHSE has produced guidelines which set out who is responsible for identifying whether or not a patient is eligible for free NHS treatment.
It is the responsibility of the Overseas Visitors Manager (OVM) of the hospital to identify whether a patient has to pay for secondary care services. However the guidance does suggest that practices should “aid this process”.
The guidance encourages OVMs to establish formal contacts with local GP surgeries and suggests that practices can help by:
- Displaying posters regarding entitlement to NHS hospital treatment.
- Indicating in referral letters when they understand a patient may be an overseas visitor, or is an EHIC holder so the relevant NHS body can check whether the patient is entitled to free NHS hospital care.
- Informing patients that they may be chargeable for some hospital services
The LMC thus advises practices, where practicable, to identify in referral letters whether a patient may be an overseas visitor, and whether a patient has an EHIC.