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NHS referral: "Bring a valid debit/credit card" ...

(69 Posts)
DGRossetti Thu 26-Apr-18 13:48:02

DW has just received a referral from our GP. Our NHS trust is working "in partnership" with private healthcare providers.

Letter (from BUPA hospital) makes it clear that even NHS patients are required to present a valid debit/credit card for each appointment which may be charged if the insurance provider or NHS do not cover the cost of the procedure.

Either we are alone in the UK in receiving such a letter, or it's now SOP.

One idly wonders what happens to patients who don't have a valid credit/debit card to present. Or a low credit/overdraft. Or any other ways of being poor sad ...

DianaPrincessOfThemyscira Thu 26-Apr-18 14:30:52

Hmm that’s very odd.

As it happens I’ve just had some consultant appointments at a Spire hospital. They have signs up saying ‘did you know you can pay for your treatment if you want?’ And the form I completed had a section for ‘who will pay’ which had my GP surgery details in there. Seems ludicrous the GP can refer for something that may not be covered.

I guess in answer to your question the patient would have to reject the private referral and wait for an NHS one. Seems ridiculous though. Incidentally I had my appointment within 2 weeks of my GP appointment (was an ear test, nothing urgent) but there was nothing available for him to book at the NHS hospital confused

prettybird Thu 26-Apr-18 15:35:27

It does make you wonder DGR hmmsadangry

It may not be common nowadays - but that makes it all the more important not to assume, because it is the poorest, the most vulnerable, the homeless, who would be affected by this. And with the NHS increasingly using the private sector to plug holes some might say a policy deliberately encouraged by the Government , it's exactly this sort of thing that needs to be highlighted.

DGRossetti Thu 26-Apr-18 15:58:10

Well there's so much wrong with it, that we'd run out of electricity in the universe before I'd finished.

But let's start with an NHS GP effectively pimping a private hospital. So where's the transparency, and how much is the private hospital getting from the NHS to start with ?

Does the GP and/or the surgery get commission. And if so, does that commission go back to the NHS or get taken as a fee ?

When the private hospital cocks up, and the NHS has to fix the damage, will the NHS be refunded and paid the extra ?

I'm sure I can think of a few more awkward questions when I've had more coffee.

DairyisClosed Thu 26-Apr-18 15:59:59

Since when do adults not have a credit/debit card. Having no money in the account doesn't matter as you won't be charged.

DownAtFraggleRock Thu 26-Apr-18 16:03:22

If you won't be charged why do they need you to bring one?

Hissy Thu 26-Apr-18 16:04:43

i thought the same when referred to specialist dental services (not covered by NHS or even private insurance) If I didn't have the £90 for the initial consultation or treatment, would 'they' just let my teeth fall out of my head?

I spent the weekend afterwards in a less affluent coastal city that weekend and in front of me were an entire family mum, dad, kids - all missing teeth, not a full set between them. It was so sad to see, but it gave me the answer, no money (in some treatments) = no care.

taybert Thu 26-Apr-18 16:05:28

The GP doesn’t get commission. The CCG has commissioned the private hospital to provide services for the NHS. It’s usually quite clear what is provided on the nhs and what isn’t and the GP can’t do an nhs referral for something that isn’t available on the nhs, regardless of who the provider is so nobody should get charged under the premise that “the nhs don’t cover that”. I’m not sure why nhs patients should need a card though. My only thought would be to do with eligibility for nhs treatment but a credit/debit card wouldn’t be a usual way of doing that.

DGRossetti Thu 26-Apr-18 16:06:05

Since when do adults not have a credit/debit card ?

Didn't realise it was the law hmm

ILikeMyChickenFried Thu 26-Apr-18 16:08:04

My local private hospital has this policy on paper but they don't seem to mind if you turn up without one (as I did confused)

wonkylegs Thu 26-Apr-18 16:12:40

My mum doesn't have a debit or credit card
She has Alzheimer's and she finds it confusing so doesn't have one anymore
We have POA and make sure she has cash or we are invoices for online payment.

catinapoolofsunshine Thu 26-Apr-18 16:13:12

It can't be eligibility for NHS treatment, I have a UK bank account with debit and credit cards - my bank know I'm resident abroad but there's nothing different on the cards to indicate that.

Dairy there are still plenty of adults without bank accounts and more who only have an account with an ATM card but no debit card, and definitely no credit cards. Poor people with bad credit history mostly. Exactly the people without other options. Most of them have always lived in the UK so are fully eligible to use the NHS.

Floralnomad Thu 26-Apr-18 16:14:08

It must depend on the hospital as I had self funded treatment at a private hospital last year and nobody ever asked for card details they just sent me an invoice a couple of weeks after the treatment had completed . This was not a BUPA hospital .

UndomesticHousewife Thu 26-Apr-18 16:19:30

We have been seen at private hospitals for an NHS referral many times but never have we been asked to bring a debit card, I’ve never heard of this before.

ProzacAndWine Thu 26-Apr-18 16:23:59

The only reason I'm able to have any kind of a bank account (no income, no benefites) is because DH agreed to go joint on his. Obviously if my DH was a dick, I wouldn't have a debit/credit card otherwise, either, despite being an adult. hmm

DGRossetti Thu 26-Apr-18 16:23:59

I’m not sure why nhs patients should need a card though. My only thought would be to do with eligibility for nhs treatment but a credit/debit card wouldn’t be a usual way of doing that.

Letter is scanned and with our MP. Not posting it here, as it's got too much in it, but ..

You will be required to bring a valid debit or credit card with you each time you attend our hospital as a patient. Your card details will be recorded and stored securely. If you incur any charges that are not covered by an insurer, a company, or the NHS or your self-pay package, we may use these details to take payment.

You must check with your insurer or third party that you have adequate cover. We will try to help you do this, but only your insurer can confirm your cover. In the event your treatment is not covered by medical insurance of by other arrangement, you will be responsible for any costs associated with your medical treatment and/or services.

Now I've typed that out, I feel quite excited. DW has always wanted to visit the US. This is like the US is coming to us ! Pass the Hersheys, rootbeer and apple pie smile.

JohnnyMcGrathSaysFuckOff Thu 26-Apr-18 16:29:16


Homeless people
People who lack capacity
Women who are in or have just left financially abusive relationships

Just off the top of my head

MarSeeAh Thu 26-Apr-18 16:31:14

Since when do adults not have a credit/debit card. Having no money in the account doesn't matter as you won't be charged.

I'm sure those adults who are in the habit of using private health care will have a credit or debit card.

However, this is a referral from an NHS Trust who care for many different people some of whom not only have no money, but have no account to keep no money in.

GnotherGnu Thu 26-Apr-18 16:32:35

I don't really see how they can enforce that. They are only entitled to levy charges pursuant to a contract, and their contract is with the NHS, not the patient. If the NHS doesn't cough up, that is their problem, not the patient's.

If the patient asks for something that won't be covered by NHS, that is the time to get his or her card details, surely.

DGRossetti Thu 26-Apr-18 16:34:05

I don't really see how they can enforce that.

Easy. No card, no treatment.

DGRossetti Thu 26-Apr-18 16:35:49

their contract is with the NHS, not the patient.

Not now they have sent the letter. I am sure a court would say that having received the letter and attended, DW was accepting the terms of the contract.

Of course, if anyone ... anyone can point me in the direction of DWs contract with the NHS, then we can see, can't we ?

Oh, about that .....

MilkyCoffeeAndSkinnySyrup Thu 26-Apr-18 16:37:34

All because of mass immigration. We are all doomed.

DGRossetti Thu 26-Apr-18 16:40:41


With the greatest of respect, fuck off.

Missingstreetlife Thu 26-Apr-18 16:40:57

People with poor credit or v low income may not have cards, or even an account. Still just possible to exist on cash or with cheque/savings a/c only. Let them eat cake.

GabsAlot Thu 26-Apr-18 16:43:57

hissy yes dental treatment isnt free even on nhs

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