UKIP Manifesto: Health tourism

Published: 25th May 2017

"Treating those ineligible for care costs British taxpayers around £2 billion every year…[UKIP will launch the toughest ever crackdown on ineligible foreign nationals using our NHS]”

  • It has been estimated that around £100 to £300 million a year is spent on deliberate health tourists and patients visiting England and “taking advantage” of the NHS. Those are incredibly rough figures.
  • Another £1.8 billion a year is estimated to be spent on people who happen to end up needing medical treatment when they are here. This includes things like treating people who are here on holiday and have broken a leg, or an expat who has come back to England to see a trusted doctor.
  • There are certain services which the NHS can’t charge for at the moment, even if you don’t normally live in the UK. This includes emergency treatment or going to visit a GP. So even if the NHS charged for all the services it possibly could and received all that money, it wouldn’t cover the full amount foreign use of the NHS is estimated to cost.
  • Looking at the services that can be charged for, the government is aiming for about £500 million a year to be recovered by 2017/18. £200 million of that will come from the “healthcare surcharge” paid by immigrants coming here.
  • But it predicts it won’t meet that, and will charge about £346 million in 2017/18. This is only the amount charged, we don’t know how much of this it will actually receive.
  • Government spending on health in England was £115 billion last year.

This factcheck is part of a roundup of UKIP manifesto launch. Read the roundup.

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