Overseas visitors regulations – Are you prepared?17/11/17
Following a Government consultation on charging patients for care by the NHS, the National Health Service (Charges to Overseas Visitors) (Amendment) Regulations 2017 have come into force. These new Regulations affect all NHS providers of care but will have a particular impact on Community and Mental Health Trusts, who until now will not have had to consider charging patients for health care.
In summary, the key changes are:
- From 21 August 2017, the new Regulations include all community services. Previously, the Regulations only included those services provided by a hospital or under the direction of a hospital.
- From 21 August 2017, visa applicants who have paid their immigration health surcharge will only be entitled to free NHS treatment from the point at which their visa application has been granted. Under the previous Regulations, they were entitled to free NHS treatment from the point the visa application was made.
- From 21 August 2017, there will be an obligation under the amended Regulations on Trusts to record information against a patient’s NHS number such as whether they are an overseas visitor, are exempt from charges, and when this was determined. This was not a requirement under the previous Regulations.
- From 23 October 2017, for non-urgent treatment (i.e. treatment that is not immediately necessary), Trusts must estimate the costs of treatment and obtain payment of those costs before treatment is provided. There are clearly going to be some difficulties in implementing this and Trusts will need clear policies and procedures in place to promptly estimate costs and obtain them in advance.
The Department of Health has published clear guidance for Trusts on implementing these changes, which can be found here.
How can Capsticks help?
We would be delighted to assist you with managing the implementation of processes and policies to meet the requirements now imposed by the amended Regulations.
Some examples include:
- Reviewing and updating patient leaflets.
- Training for clinical staff on the amended Regulations and what to look out for.
- Training for the board on the implications of the amended Regulations for the organisation.
- Recruiting and training an Overseas Visitor Officer.
- Advising on updating policies, processes and computer systems .
- Advising on implementation of the amended Regulations and interpreting the Department of Health Guidance.