NHS Fails to Recover Cost of Treating Foreign Patients
Hospitals are being deprived of funds enough to hire 9,500 additional workers as highlighted in a recent BBC2 documentary. With healthcare professionals reluctant to collect money from their foreign patients, hospitals are predicted to continue failing to recover millions of lost hospital funds.
Taxpayers are the ones who are shouldering the amount of the unbilled expenses from these foreign health help funds. The amount to cover unbilled hospital expenses is between £200 million and £2 billion a year as reported by Mirror UK.
The Public Accounts Committee meanwhile reveals that the government is already aiming to raise £500 million a year from foreign patients by 2017 and 2018, but with the current rate that is going, the estimated amount is estimated to reach at least £346 million.
Questions are now being raised on where the funds for the NHS treatment should be coming. At present, only walk-in centers are required to bill foreign patients, including short-term immigrants, tourists, and students.
Independent UK reveals that the NHS should exert more efforts in collecting money from treated patients that are not eligible for free hospital care. The Public Accountants Committee shows a lack of confidence in the Department of Health efforts in recovering money from foreigners who left the NHS with unpaid bills. The NHS is also having a hard time identifying which patients are to be charged and which are not.
Although around £289 million was already charged to overseas patients from 2015 and 2016, only half of this amount has been collected. To produce better results, NHS hospitals are now provided with financial incentives for their extra efforts in recovering unbilled hospitalization costs.
However, hospitals should note penalties that may come is they force foreign patients to reveal their documents to identify if they are eligible for free NHS care or not.
The Department of Health in the UK is already planning an action plan that is set for release and implementation this coming June 2017 to be able to create more effective and immediate ways to recover more money for NHS hospitals.
Not doing so deprives the NHS vital funds that are needed to treat overseas visitors as mandated by the government.