Tuesday, 2 March 2021

UK patients might have to show ID to access some NHS services

LONDON: Officials are examining whether patients should have to show ID to get some elements of NHS care. The Department of Health said it is looking into some methods that are already being employed across some parts of the NHS to claw back money from foreign NHS users. Chris Wormald, permanent secretary at the Department of Health told the Public Accounts Committee (PAC), that the NHS has got a “lot further to go” when it comes to reclaiming money from foreign visitors. Mr Wormald admitted that there were challenges in the identification of people who should be charged for elements of NHS care. Some trusts are trialling asking patients to bring ID before getting some elements of care, he said. He said the Department of Health was looking into whether more trusts should go down that route.

“We have some trusts that are looking at asking for two forms of ID before treatment,” Mr Wormald said. “Now that is obviously quite a controversial thing to do but in terms of ‘how do you get those numbers up’, those are the kinds of things we want to look at. “We don’t have evaluated results of those yet, but what those trusts are reporting is that does lead to an increase in identification.” He added: “We are looking… at whether trusts should do more on upfront identification. “The general question – are we looking at whether trusts should proactively ask people to prove identity? Yes we are looking at that. “There are individual trusts like Peterborough who are doing that, who are reporting that it makes a big difference and there you are saying ‘please come with two forms of identity, your passport and your address’ and they use that to check whether people are eligible or not. “Now it is obviously quite a controversial thing to do to say to the entire population you now have to prove identity.”

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