King’s College Hospital NHS Foundation Trust (KCHT) has confirmed that it will join Guy’s and St George’s in the NHS pilot scheme against “health tourism”, writes Kirsty Purnell…
The Foundation Trust aims to implement the pilot, which is designed to identify patients who are not eligible for free care, toward the end of Spring.
KCHT, like Guy’s and St Thomas’, already has checks in place to identify which patients need to pay for treatment but participation in the scheme may result in new or extra checks being introduced.
The Trust has confirmed that the pilot will be trialled in “a small number of departments” but is currently unable to confirm which ones.
A KCHT spokesperson has said that one new measure may be requesting patients bring ID to appointments.
The Trust has not yet confirmed how it will manage accident and emergency situations where patients may not be carrying ID.
However, it made clear that NHS staff will continue to adhere to guidelines and treat patients with life-threatening injuries or illnesses.
Last year, KCHT wrote off £2.2m in unpaid medical bills from patients not eligible for free care.
A KCHT spokesperson said: “Along with a number of Trusts across the country, we have been asked to participate in the pilot.”
“We already have systems in place to help identify patients who are not eligible for free NHS treatment, and last year (2015/16), the Trust recovered £1.2m from overseas patients.”
“Where an overseas visitor attends the Trust with a life threatening condition or it would be detrimental to their health were they not to be treated.”