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proving you are entitled to NHS treatment - anyone else having to do this?

(29 Posts)
Dizzyclarebear Tue 14-Jul-09 16:09:07

I've just had a call from the finance department from the hospital that's been treating me so far (I'm 14 weeks - but probably will have moved out of the area by the end of August - but that's another story). Apparently, I have to come in and have an appointment to prove I'm entitled to NHS treatment. The man from Finance asked if I think I'm entitled to treatment. I said as I was born in the UK and have never lived aboard so yes, I think I am. He then asked if I could prove it. hmm

So long conversation short, I have to take some more time off work, to go in to see him with my passport and a recent utility bill in my name. Why I couldn't be asked to bring this with me when I went for my 12 week scan, I don't know.

Is anyone else having to do this or is it just a South East London thing? And what about woman who 1) don't have a passport or 2) don't have the utility bills in their name? And is it just child birth or are other treatments checked now? My DH had a non-emergency op on his ankle last year and at no point was asked to prove entitlement to free NHS treatment - wondered if this is a new thing...

mosschops30 Tue 14-Jul-09 16:11:26

How odd!! Have never heard of this, but dont live in London so cant comment.
Re your wuestion about passport/utility bills etc, if you are entitled to NHS treatment you will have an NHS card in your name anyway

Dophus Tue 14-Jul-09 16:15:45

Never heard of this.

EldonAve Tue 14-Jul-09 16:16:58

All the London hospitals have signs up saying if you are visiting from overseas you may have to pay for treatment

Is there any reason why they are suspicious of you?

Dizzyclarebear Tue 14-Jul-09 16:22:32

I do have a NHS card! Mosschops30 - I hadn't even thought of that, how odd they didn't ask for that... TBH - if he hadn't been rude I'd probably have just gone along with it.

Oddly, the Midwife did ask this as well, but didn't mention having to produce documents, she just ticked the form... Does seem they aren't very joined up in SE London... Makes me a bit worried when I move and have to move doctors it'll all go hidiously wrong... sad

Dizzyclarebear Tue 14-Jul-09 16:27:31

EldonAve - no idea!!! If they're profiling, I can't see why you'd pick me (born in UK to British parents, married a bloke from UK, never lived abroad, never not had a NHS GP in UK, been registered at same GP for 5 years, always paid NI, never had private treatment for anything...)

I mean my uncle's done the family tree and if you go back 10+ generations there's a girl who got pregnant by a Spanish pirate, but that's about as exotic as our family gets...

JulesJules Tue 14-Jul-09 16:31:46

How odd.

I think even the Spanish pirate would be entitled, btw, as long as he had the EHIC card (formerly known as the E111)...

LadyMuck Tue 14-Jul-09 16:35:53

Yes, I live in South London and have had to prove that I and the dcs are entitled to NHS treatment. I suspect that only certain areas are having to do this, but it is a pain. Had to produce ds2's passport as well as my one and a utility bill just for his last dental check-up! Never had anyone question my Britishness before, but I guess the proportion of people who aren't entitled to NHS treatment must be hitting an alltime high.

arolf Tue 14-Jul-09 16:36:00

I had to prove it after living abroad for 9 months - but a letter from my employer was all they asked for.
it does sound very odd though - maybe a case of mistaken identity?

LadyMuck Tue 14-Jul-09 16:36:53

Have to say I am wondering whether it is a way of making the ID card more palatable. Trying to find a recent utility bill in the day and age of everything being done online is a real pita.

HecatesTwopenceworth Tue 14-Jul-09 16:40:15

That's really weird. What's your ethnicity? Or do you have an unusual name? Just wondering if there's something unpleasant at the root of their actions.

ilovemydogandmrobama Tue 14-Jul-09 16:56:39

Was reading an article about a year ago where the NHS had a man from the finance dept going around the ward asking for proof of entitlement to NHS treatment, and if not entitled, for a credit card as a deposit. And if no credit card, and not life threatening, would get that person discharged. shock

Not sure how this went down with the doctors, but allegedly this guy saved the hospital about a million. Was it Charing Cross? hmm

Dizzyclarebear Tue 14-Jul-09 16:57:36

Ethnicity - white British. Name, well obviously Clare, surname was a welsh one, married name is a Scottish one. (Married couple of years ago so it's not like the name's just changed)

Although LadyMuck - have actually made me feel better that they might be doing this to everyone or a random sample rather than picking on me...

So, do I complain about him being rude? Or is that to be expected when dealing with NHS back office staff? (All the Front line people I've met there have been charming - even the A&E reception on a Saturday night)

Northernlurker Tue 14-Jul-09 17:06:27

The rules haven't changed but there is a lot more pressure on trusts to check up on this now. I think your trust is probably checking a randomised sample - and the fact that you are actually white with a Scottish name is in fact a good thing as it shows they are not making assumptions about entitlement to NHS treatment based on ethnic background. I can see it's a pain for you but the intention is to protect NHS resources for those entitled to benefit from them and that is a good thing surely?

ilovemydogandmrobama Tue 14-Jul-09 17:07:36

Wouldn't complain.

Have you had your identity stolen? Could there be 2 of you?

Dizzyclarebear Tue 14-Jul-09 17:19:03

Well, Clare's a pretty common first name so I suppose there could be another woman wondering about in SE London with my name. (Oh how dare she! wink)

Never had ID stolen, puts me in a minority I know...

Think I won't complain but will put foot down that I'll only go see stroppy man from Finance Department before/after one of the mutitude of other appointments I have at the hospital in the next few weeks. Really don't think this should be an extra morning off work so they can fill a form...

Dizzyclarebear Tue 14-Jul-09 17:20:40

PS thanks all for not making me feel like a)I'm being picked on by NHS or b)slightly odd that I find this all strange...

LG1000 Tue 14-Jul-09 17:41:26

I'm actually quite impressed that the NHS are toughening up on entitlement to treatment.

I was due to have my 20 week scan this morning, only to receive a letter from the hospital telling me it has been cancelled. I have not yet been given an alternative date, but have been informed that there isn't a slot free until September. Which will mean having my 20 week scan at ooh, about 30 weeks if I'm lucky!

The NHS is obviously struggling to provide even a basic level of care to those who have been paying NI all their working lives, therefore it's clear that treating everyone who turns up at their door is not possible.

However, it sounds like they need a little help in the implementation of this. I'm sure your NHS trust would appreciate your feedback regarding the way you have been approached by the man from Finance and the inconvenience this has caused you.

Northernlurker Tue 14-Jul-09 17:51:50

LG - I suspect your scan has been cancelled because of staff sickness - that's usually the reason for short notice. If you don't hear soon ask your community midwife to get on the case. They can't leave you till September to check your placenta isn't low - let alone all the other reasons for the scan. If the sickness is more than short term they will need to get cover for extra lists. The other option is to squeeze you on to the full clinics but that will mean a lengthy wait so take a book! grin

I agree that it is good this is being checked up on. It's quite staggering how many people choose to live abroad and then when ill health strikes rush home expecting free healthcare in a country they no longer have any intention of living in. A British passport doesn't mean a NHS bed!

verytiredmummy Wed 15-Jul-09 10:56:34

I've lived in south London most of my life and have never heard of this. How weird. Do you have an NHS number? Surely that would do the trick?

If I'd been asked for all that id, I'd have thought it was a con actually. Are you sure it's genuine? Which hospital are you at? I had my scan at Kings on Monday and had my last baby at St George's - both massive hospitals in very multi-cultural areas - and neither asked me to prove my entitlement. I'd check it out if I were you.

Dizzyclarebear Wed 15-Jul-09 20:07:27

I called up today - the finance man was much nicer, almost appologetic. (Think it was a different bloke.. grin) going in before another appointment, rather than special appointment. The office is in the hosptial so def not a con. Apparently they have started asking everyone but NHS number isn't enough because even if you're not entitled to free treatment you can get a NHS number hmm

verytiredmummy Fri 17-Jul-09 12:11:47

That's good that he was nicer. Still think it's fishy though! Why would having an NHS number not prove you're entitled, but a utility bill (which surely no one has any more in these days of paper-free billing?) would? Even foreigners are allowed electricity in their house aren't they?!

Keep us posted - I'm really intrigued!

pretoria Tue 21-Jul-09 11:44:27

You get an NHS number from birth, but you don't get NHS treatment if you don't live in the UK.

So you could have been born here (hence have number), but then emigrated (and therefore presumably you don't have a UK utility bill in your name).


longwayaway Tue 21-Jul-09 12:13:22

It must be some kind of random check or else they're toughening enforcement in your area - I was asked if I was entitled to treatment the first time I went to the hospital, but (A) I am American and living here temporarily, and (B) I'd checked a box on a form to say I'd been here less than 12 weeks.

Even then they simply sent someone over from Finance to ask me if I was living/working/paying taxes here (to which I said "yes"). It was all taken care of while I waited in the waiting room and I didn't have to produce any documents, they took me at my word.

madremia09 Tue 21-Jul-09 13:04:11

i dont mean to hijack the thread but this interests me as looking to move bk to uk having lived in spain for over 6 years....dp will be working in the uk,i will not as i will continue to be a SAHM therefore i will have no proof of anything!? any ideas? thanks

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