Trusts asking practices to identify overseas patients when referring

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We are aware some practices are receiving messages from hospital trusts asking for assistance in identifying overseas patients at the point of referral.

We would like to remind practices that there is no contractual obligation for GP practices to provide this information and it is up to the trust to determine eligibility to secondary care services. It is important that GPs make referrals based on clinical judgement and need, rather than perceived eligibility.

According to NHS regulations, everyone is entitled to free access to primary care services including general practice. The regulations around access to NHS secondary care services for overseas visitors are more complicated, with different rules regarding urgent and necessary care compared to routine care.

Further information about eligibility is available on the toolkit, including additional information for practices on supporting and treating patients from abroad.

We have already raised our concerns about the letter with the GPC. If you are aware of any such requests locally, please share them with us via or our Beam2LMC app.

Last updated : 18 Sep 2019