Support someone being charged for care

Since its foundation, the National Health Service (NHS) has been financed through general taxation, with care provided on the basis of need, not the ability to pay. Most people in the UK believe that care should always be free. With the introduction of immigration checks and upfront charging the Government are threatening the founding principles of the NHS.

Being made to pay for healthcare can be an alienating experience, with people who are unwell and vulnerable feeling concerned about accessing healthcare due to their immigration status, and often being hounded with letters demanding payment from hospitals and private debt collectors. Others may not even suspect they will be charged until they go for an appointment or receive a letter. As charging is still new, many hospitals and NHS Trusts do not understand how it works. This means that mistakes are often made and people given incorrect information about who is chargeable and how they can pay.

At the same time as campaigning to end healthcare charging, we must support people affected by upfront charging. This section contains an overview of current rights and exemptions, ideas for approaching advocacy on individual cases and how healthcare workers and communities can challenge these policies collectively.