NHS to Charge Fee for International Students

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hslakaal
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EDIT: So the actual consultation's been released, and it seems to be fairly reasonable - opt out if you rather pay private insurance etc. Just think the UK education business might take a hit tho, in my humble opinion (and someone made a mistake in the description of the Tier system. Unless I'm wrong, Tier 4 was students, not Tier 3.) I just hope it isn't the same price for students vs. say, a 40 year old man recruited to a British firm, who's obese.

EDIT 2: Any workers working for British firms, in the UK are exempt from the fee.

Original
http://m.bbc.co.uk/news/health-23156403

So it appears the UK government is going to charge a fee on top of the visa fee to international students starting longer than 6 months for the NHS.

I am not British, and I can understand how frustrating it may be for the British taxpayers to have to pay for migrants' health fees, but £200 for all international students is a stupid way to go in my opinion.

Even thought I'm an international student, I've only been to the GP to get a cheap doxycycline prescription, and if that had cost £200, I'd be more than willing to pay, but I doubt my 10 minute consultation would have cost that much, even with the drug prices involved. Might as well have gone to a private GP in my case, had I been charged a £200 fee.

Of course,.maybe I have a subconscious bias. But I do know a lot of international students who haven't used the NHS once in the 9 months they stay in the UK.

What do the British people think? I'm sympathetic towards the dislike of migrants to an extent but a blanket method seems a bit silly. Why not just charge like what the Americans do if they have a "good" system - I.e. charge after service, not a fixed fee for everyone, regardless of their actual usage.


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DaveSmith99
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Little uneasy about this, one of the founding principles of the NHS is that medical care be provided to all and based on clinical need and not the ability to pay.

The coalition has been nothing but bad news for the NHS.


edit: just seen that the estimated cost of migrants to the NHS is £30m on the news, we're doing all this because of £30m a year :facepalm:
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creak
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(Original post by DaveSmith99)
Little uneasy about this, one of the founding principles of the NHS is that medical care be provided to all and based on clinical need and not the ability to pay.

The coalition has been nothing but bad news for the NHS.


edit: just seen that the estimated cost of migrants to the NHS is £30m on the news, we're doing all this because of £30m a year :facepalm:
Yep, £30m out of a budget of £109bn. And if no one is being turned away, I wonder how much will it actually cost to recoup these funds as people are '"chased up" for money after receiving treatment'? Enough to make it worthwhile?

Despite the cover story I presume this is just to get the public used to the idea of direct payments for NHS services before they're slowly rolled out to other groups in society as well, softening us up for when the rug is pulled from under the NHS completely.
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Ellim
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I was sort of an international student as well (but wasn't in the UK on a student visa, but a spousal and now have indefinite leave to remain).

I essentially agree that foreign nationals (not just students) who stay for any length of time and don't pay tax should pay something for NHS services - but I disagree with the idea that they should pay a lump-sum 'access charge' (which is essentially what this is). Perhaps a small after-service charge would be a better way to go? A higher prescription charge?

Who knows? Visa charges are so exorbitant as it is that, honestly, I doubt an extra £200 would even be noticed.
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SillyEddy
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I don't quite see the point in it. Even as a Brit myself, I have paid zilch towards the NHS because I have never been taxed (it's oddly amusing how the government is short on money, yet keep increasing the tax allowance. I always worked part-time before uni and never came close to the threshold). It seems odd to expect others to pay when they're in a similar position. That said, if they are coming purely to study and then go back to their home country to work afterwards, I could understand that the NHS and other services may suffer from a shortage of money because it's investing in a lot of people who won't be able to pay back towards their healthcare. Perhaps they could just take £200 out of the high international fees instead of asking them to pay even more out?

I was also under the impression that foreign persons were expected to have suitable insurance or whatever before coming to the UK and that they or their host country would cover expenses?
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hslakaal
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(Original post by SillyEddy)
I don't quite see the point in it. Even as a Brit myself, I have paid zilch towards the NHS because I have never been taxed (it's oddly amusing how the government is short on money, yet keep increasing the tax allowance. I always worked part-time before uni and never came close to the threshold). It seems odd to expect others to pay when they're in a similar position. That said, if they are coming purely to study and then go back to their home country to work afterwards, I could understand that the NHS and other services may suffer from a shortage of money because it's investing in a lot of people who won't be able to pay back towards their healthcare. Perhaps they could just take £200 out of the high international fees instead of asking them to pay even more out?

I was also under the impression that foreign persons were expected to have suitable insurance or whatever before coming to the UK and that they or their host country would cover expenses?
International students on courses more than 6 months are entitled to some NHS services. What I don't get is why all international students, regardless of their actual usage of the NHS has to pay.

Dunno, if I was given the current conditions of coming to the UK, I'd have gone to the US instead.

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WhatDoIWrite
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(Original post by hslakaal)
http://m.bbc.co.uk/news/health-23156403

So it appears the UK government is going to charge a fee on top of the visa fee to international students starting longer than 6 months for the NHS.

I am not British, and I can understand how frustrating it may be for the British taxpayers to have to pay for migrants' health fees, but £200 for all international students is a stupid way to go in my opinion.

Even thought I'm an international student, I've only been to the GP to get a cheap doxycycline prescription, and if that had cost £200, I'd be more than willing to pay, but I doubt my 10 minute consultation would have cost that much, even with the drug prices involved. Might as well have gone to a private GP in my case, had I been charged a £200 fee.

Of course,.maybe I have a subconscious bias. But I do know a lot of international students who haven't used the NHS once in the 9 months they stay in the UK.

What do the British people think? I'm sympathetic towards the dislike of migrants to an extent but a blanket method seems a bit silly. Why not just charge like what the Americans do if they have a "good" system - I.e. charge after service, not a fixed fee for everyone, regardless of their actual usage.


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Would you have the same view if you required emergency surgery that required hundreds of thousands of pounds?

I think it's a good idea. The money has got to come from somewhere and the amount of money the NHS is losing towards people not paying for the healthcare is ridiculous and needs to be addressed.
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hslakaal
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I would gladly pay, as soon as a medical bill is sent to me. what I don't get is why students would have to pay even if they don't use the NHS at all. Im sure if you ask several of any international student at your uni, they'd have rarely used the NHS.

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hslakaal
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(Original post by WhatDoIWrite)
Would you have the same view if you required emergency surgery that required hundreds of thousands of pounds?

I think it's a good idea. The money has got to come from somewhere and the amount of money the NHS is losing towards people not paying for the healthcare is ridiculous and needs to be addressed.
Just to make clear, I .not against migrants and internationals paying. Personally, I would gladly pay, as soon as a medical bill is sent to me, the full cost of the surgery if I hAD to. what I don't get is why students would have to pay even if they don't use the NHS at all. Im sure if you ask several of any international student at your uni, they'd have rarely used the NHS.

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WhatDoIWrite
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(Original post by hslakaal)
I would gladly pay, as soon as a medical bill is sent to me. what I don't get is why students would have to pay even if they don't use the NHS at all. Im sure if you ask several of any international student at your uni, they'd have rarely used the NHS.

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That might just be you and it's apparent not everybody has the same view from the NHS having to implement this.

It's the way the NHS works. A calculated amount of NI is paid by each person and receive health care regardless of how much is paid in by each individual. Of course this system has it's advantages and disadvantages but which system doesn't.
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SillyEddy
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(Original post by hslakaal)
International students on courses more than 6 months are entitled to some NHS services. What I don't get is why all international students, regardless of their actual usage of the NHS has to pay.

Dunno, if I was given the current conditions of coming to the UK, I'd have gone to the US instead.

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Would it be more appropriate to require all visitors and students to possess their own medical insurance instead? A lot of the BBC comments seem to be suggesting just that.
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aari
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(Original post by hslakaal)
International students on courses more than 6 months are entitled to some NHS services. What I don't get is why all international students, regardless of their actual usage of the NHS has to pay.

Dunno, if I was given the current conditions of coming to the UK, I'd have gone to the US instead.

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I agree OP...
No international student I know uses the NHS. Not one!

And it's too late to apply to the US now!
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hslakaal
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(Original post by WhatDoIWrite)
That might just be you and it's apparent not everybody has the same view from the NHS having to implement this.

It's the way the NHS works. A calculated amount of NI is paid by each person and receive health care regardless of how much is paid in by each individual. Of course this system has it's advantages and disadvantages but which system doesn't.
Intl students = visitors, not a resident, nor taxpayer => medical fees. This I understand.

You have just said students should pay National Insurance, which is for UK or to be UK permanent residents, who are employed. NI includes pensions, unemployment among others.

So we should pay a fee because we aren't residents, but we should pay a fee to contribute to a service barely any of us "non-residents" use?

I don't mind paying, but a blanket fee is ridiculous. At least they have given the option of private insurance it seems.



Meh. I try to remain impartial, since it isn't my country, and I respect the rights of the hosts to do as they wish, but considering how the US is stepping up it's game to attract money spending international students, I won't be surprised if this ends up further decreasing the flow of students to the UK.
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hslakaal
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(Original post by SillyEddy)
Would it be more appropriate to require all visitors and students to possess their own medical insurance instead? A lot of the BBC comments seem to be suggesting just that.
I would, and just avoid the NHS. Might as well, if I visit a hospital once a year, or even a GP, might as well go private for a bit more. Good thing the consultation allows for that.
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WhatDoIWrite
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(Original post by hslakaal)
Intl students = visitors, not a resident, nor taxpayer => medical fees. This I understand.

You have just said students should pay National Insurance, which is for UK or to be UK permanent residents, who are employed. NI includes pensions, unemployment among others.

So we should pay a fee because we aren't residents, but we should pay a fee to contribute to a service barely any of us "non-residents" use?

I don't mind paying, but a blanket fee is ridiculous. At least they have given the option of private insurance it seems.



Meh. I try to remain impartial, since it isn't my country, and I respect the rights of the hosts to do as they wish, but considering how the US is stepping up it's game to attract money spending international students, I won't be surprised if this ends up further decreasing the flow of students to the UK.
Have you got any reliable evidence or statistics to claim "barely any" of you use the service or is that just anecdotal evidence you are using?
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Boltshot
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We have to pay for medical insurance when we go abroad, so I don't see why we shouldn't charge these people. We're all paying for the NHS through tax, we're stupid for allowing health tourists to come in and leech.
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hslt
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(Original post by DaveSmith99)
Little uneasy about this, one of the founding principles of the NHS is that medical care be provided to all and based on clinical need and not the ability to pay.
Free to all, at the point of use - but not to the whole world without any links or contribution to the system, and anyone who wants to turn up. If you can afford to come to the country, pay a few thousand in university, and an £80 visa, then another £200 for UNLIMITED medical care is nothing, especially given that this isn't provided to UK citizens anywhere else in the world (excluding the EU).

Remember that the NHS isn't free - it's paid for by taxes, essentially a means tested way of funding healthcare REGARDLESS OF USE. Those travelling to the UK for a significant period of time, who might want to use our healthcare system should also expect to contribute to our system regardless of use in the same way. This keeps it free at the point of service, which is the ACTUAL founding principle - anyone eligible to use it, regardless of the money they have, should be allowed to without limitation.

I'm not convinced about the estimate of 30m either - its fairly uncommon to actually log that someone is only here for a couple of weeks, or months anywhere in the notes, I imagine a lot of people fall through the cracks in that figure.

That said - I think this is more of a political move to gain popularity, than a well thought out or necessarily fair solution.
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hslt
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(Original post by creak)
Yep, £30m out of a budget of £109bn. And if no one is being turned away, I wonder how much will it actually cost to recoup these funds as people are '"chased up" for money after receiving treatment'? Enough to make it worthwhile?

Despite the cover story I presume this is just to get the public used to the idea of direct payments for NHS services before they're slowly rolled out to other groups in society as well, softening us up for when the rug is pulled from under the NHS completely.
The idea isn't, as I understand it, to chase people up - but to get an upfront payment.

It isn't a direct payment, it's the same as what every tax paying british citizen has to do - contribute regardless of use.
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hslt
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(Original post by hslakaal)
So we should pay a fee because we aren't residents, but we should pay a fee to contribute to a service barely any of us "non-residents" use?

I don't mind paying, but a blanket fee is ridiculous. At least they have given the option of private insurance it seems.



Meh. I try to remain impartial, since it isn't my country, and I respect the rights of the hosts to do as they wish, but considering how the US is stepping up it's game to attract money spending international students, I won't be surprised if this ends up further decreasing the flow of students to the UK.
Why should we all pay taxes towards services that we don't use? I have hardly seen the doctor in my lifetime, my parents have harldy ever seen the doctor - yet they pay taxes. this is the principle of the NHS - you pay regardless of use, so that those who do need it can use it without limitation. It makes sense to me that people coming to this country for an extended period of time should accept our philosophy on healthcare too.


A private GP appointment alone is well over £50, ignoring the prescription/drug fees. A night in a normal ward, without any drugs or interventions costs the NHS hundreds of pounds. Even if 'barely any of you' use it, it doesn't take long for a few people regularly using it to outstrip £200 per international student - as an easy example, I actually venture that a large proportion of the female students use it regularly and take advantage of the free contraception offered here. And a large proportion of patients I see in my university town are students, with a good mix of domestic and international.

You might not use the service - but that doesn't mean others don't.

I anecdotally have a friend studying where I do, who has been to ICU two or three times this year (poorly controlled/severe asthma) - google the cost of a single night in ICU, multiply it by around 20 days, she accounts for about 100 of these £200 payments. (not to mention her regular GP appointments, prescriptions, etc.)

And although I appreciate the truth behind your loosely veiled threat - feel free to go to America, get some health insurance, then realise how expensive it is (certainly not £200), orrrr hope you don't end up ill and bankrupt. I don't think charging a bit for healthcare is really going to make much of a difference to where people choose to study.
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hslt
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(Original post by Ellim)
I essentially agree that foreign nationals (not just students) who stay for any length of time and don't pay tax should pay something for NHS services - but I disagree with the idea that they should pay a lump-sum 'access charge' (which is essentially what this is). Perhaps a small after-service charge would be a better way to go? A higher prescription charge?
Why should the philosophy be different for visitors to residents - we pay, based on ability to pay, so that it is free at the point of service for everyone.

If we accept you after-service charge, then our pre-payments are allowing you a free at point of service healthcare service, where you could easily avoid paying. And a small after-service charge would NOT cover the cost - it would slightly reduce the cost to the tax payer for providing your treatment. If it's an after-service charge it would have to be the full cost to make it in any way fair to the tax payers of this country - HOWEVER - in this instance someone comes here, unexpectedly has heart surgery, it costs £10,000, you can hardly expect them to cough up the money. Much better that they paid before hand to cover the eventuality that they might need treatment.

A higher prescription charge - in what way would this a) be enforceable b) cover the costs of appointments not resulting in prescriptions c) cover the costs of hospital care. No, this is another way to avoid paying the full costs of health care provided to you.

Much better to pay an 'access fee' as you put it, in exactly the same way everybody else in the country has to. You might not use it, but it makes it affordable to the few international students/long term visitors who do need it, without costing the UK tax payers excess money to provide them with healthcare. Any 'after service' fees will inevitably result in lost revenue, either chasing up the fees, or just in unpaid fees.
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