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Coronavirus and Healthcare Charging

We welcome the Department of Health and Social Care updated  guidance on the ‘NHS visitor and migrant cost recovery programme’ in light of the coronavirus outbreak to make clear that no charges will be applied for the diagnosis or treatment of the virus.

The guidance reads, “Novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV) has been added to Schedule 1 of the NHS (Charges to Overseas Visitors) Regulations. This means, as for any other infectious disease in Schedule 1, there can be no charge made to an overseas visitor for the diagnosis, or, if positive, treatment, of this coronavirus. No charge applies to a diagnostic test even if the result is negative. Also, no charge can apply to any treatment provided up to the point that it is negatively diagnosed.”

We are also aware of the increase in the Immigration Health Surcharge planned for October

The immigration health surcharge is set to increase from £400 to £624 per year following yesterday’s budget announcement. The new figure will apply for all surcharge liable non-EEA migrants (and their dependents) from October 2020, expanding to include EEA migrants from January 2021. Coverage of the news focused on the negative impact on healthcare workers from overseas and the double-charging of many migrants who will already pay tax and national insurance contributions. Campaigners in the sector have warned that this will price people out of citizenship and regularising their status, leading to an increase in the undocumented population.

Our view is that there should never be a health charge in the first place. The costs of implementing this outweigh any financial benefit to the NHS and the human cost is so great. Please see our health resources page here.