The passport checks will help the NHS be able to charge foreign patients
Health secretary Jeremy Hunt estimated health tourism cost the UK taxpayer £2 billion a year.
People are only entitled to free health care on the NHS after they have lived in the UK for six months.
But there are thought to be thousands of sick people coming to Britain to take advantage of the NHS.
It is illegal for doctors to charge the Government for procedures for people who aren’t entitled to them.
If hospitals are found to be doing so, they will be forced to foot the bill themselves, and fork out an extra 25 per cent as punishment.
Hospitals will be able to charge patients 50 per cent more than the cost to make a profit
The Secretary of State for Health is for the first time exercising the power to calculate charges
But details will be required if casualty patients need to be admitted to a hospital ward and new mothers will be chased for information after birth.
The guidance, which is now in force, states: “From April 2015, the Secretary of State for Health is for the first time exercising the power under the National Health Service Act 2006 to calculate charges for overseas visitors on a commercial basis, which may include a reasonable profit element.”
Patients must give passport details before they are allowed surgery
They must now pay a £200 surcharge along with their visa applications if they are from a country outside the European Economic Area – which includes all EU countries as well as Iceland, Norway, Liechtenstein and Switzerland.
Andrew Bridgen, the Tory MP for North West Leicestershire, told the Daily Mail: “This is not the International Health Service, it’s the National Health Service. Non-UK nationals seeking medical attention should pay for their treatment.
“The NHS is funded by UK taxpayers for UK citizens and if any of us went to any of these countries we’d certainly be paying if we needed to be treated.”
Alp Mehmet vice-chairman of Migration Watch UK, said: “With regard to non-emergency cases, it seems to me perfectly reasonable to take whatever action is necessary to establish whether someone is entitled to free treatment on the NHS.” ?
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