Plans are being drawn up to introduce fees for ‘non-urgent care’ in an attempt to crack down on foreigners’ free treatment.
THOUSANDS of migrants will be forced to pay for the NHS by the end of the year under new plans drawn up by the Health Secretary.
A bill included in last year’s Queen’s Speech was dumped from this year’s formal legislative programme.
But sources told the Sun that new powers will be introduced into existing legislation later this year to stop “health tourism” – which is estimated to cost the NHS as much as £500 million a year.
The fee system will see hospitals forced to ask migrants to bring a passport or other documentation to appointments.
A Department for Health spokesman said: “As we set out in our manifesto, the Government remains committed to ensuring overseas visitors and migrants not eligible for NHS-funded care make a fair contribution.
“These will include making it a legal requirement that hospitals charge patients who are not eligible for free NHS treatment upfront and in full for any non urgent care.”
MPs on a cross party committee in February demanded hospitals charge foreign patients “upfront” unless the case was an emergency – claiming the government was failing to recoup millions.
A BBC documentary in the same month detailed the story of a Nigerian mother who had quadruplets in London after a stopover on a flight from Africa.
Critics claim the NHS is also losing out from a failure by Government to recoup the cost of treating EU citizens from European governments.
While the Government paid £674 million to other European countries for treatment of Brits abroad but received it only pocketed £49 million in return for NHS treatment of European citizens.