Health secretary Jeremy Hunt will ask GPs to crack down on the use of free NHS services by non-Britons, under controversial plans to be unveiled this week. A registration and tracking system, possibly linked to NHS numbers, will allow practices to spot people who do not qualify for free healthcare.
It is one of several measures to be announced by Hunt that are designed to close so-called “NHS tourism” loopholes that allow non-eligible immigrants access to care without being identified or charged. These will not restrict access to emergency treatment, but some people will be required to pay for anything else. It is understood the plans will be developed, working with GPs, to ensure that people can use services when they really need to.