The National Health Service (NHS) provides free hospital treatment for people who live in the United Kingdom only.

If you do not normally live in this country and you do not meet one of the exemptions from charges criteria, you will have to pay for any treatment you need. This is regardless of your nationality or whether you hold a British passport, have lived in the UK and paid National Insurance and taxes in the UK in the past or have been issued with a HC2 certificate.

Accessing health services explains more about the rules and exemptions and whether you need to pay for NHS treatment.

Guidance is also available by accessing information for EU and EEA (European Economic Area) visitors for those patients who are entitled to reduced cost or free healthcare that is clinically necessary if they have a valid European Health Insurance Card (EHIC). Eligible European visitors must show their EHIC otherwise they may have to pay for NHS treatment.

How to provide evidence of NHS treatment entitlement

All patients receiving hospital treatment, whatever their nationality and residency, need to provide the correct information and evidence of entitlement if requested.

If you go to East Lancashire Hospitals NHS Trust and are asked to prove your entitlement to free medical treatment, you can do so by showing your EHIC number or proof of residency.

For further information, please contact our Overseas Visitors department:

Tel: +44(0) 1254 734 357


If you would like this document translating into another language please contact the Overseas Visitor department.