Date Published: 03.05.2023
Status: Past
Type: Social Security Coordination and Equal Treatment
Outcome: Early case resolution
Last Updated: 21.11.2023

NHS Charges for applicants to the EUSS (Scotland)

Summary of Information 

In December 2022 the IMA wrote to the Scottish Government (SG) – who are responsible for policy on health in Scotland- and asked them to confirm how they ensured the rights of EUSS applicants to free NHS treatment were upheld. In addition, the IMA noted that some of the communications available on the NHS(Scotland) and Scottish Government websites were contradictory and the Guidance in relation to EUSS applicants was out of date.  The IMA also sought confirmation that EUSS applicants and their Joining Family Members (JFMs) had not been erroneously charged for NHS treatment.

Summary of Actions and Evidence 

Upon receiving correspondence from the IMA, the Scottish Government confirmed that it had:

  • Immediately removed contradictory information from the NHS and Scottish Government websites

In correspondence with the IMA the Scottish Government have also confirmed that:

  • Joining Family Members (within scope of the Agreements) have the right to access NHS healthcare in Scotland, at no charge.
  • No issues have been identified in relation to EUSS applicants accessing healthcare. There has been no communications or correspondence between Health Boards, or members of the public, and the Scottish Government to indicate that any EUSS applicant or Joining Family Member has been erroneously charged for treatment.
  • The relevant guidance will be updated to provide information on the rights of EUSS applicants to access NHS services and to provide information on Joining Family Members.
  • The information on the NHS Inform website will be updated.
  • Communications will be sent to NHS Boards informing them of changes to the NHS Inform website; and
  • They will continue to liaise with Health Board’s Overseas Visitors Managers during the development of guidance, and thereafter, to ensure that the rights of EU and EEA EFTA citizens living in Scotland, and their family members, to access NHS healthcare are protected.

Summary of Decision 

On the basis of the actions that the Scottish Government have already undertaken, and the proposed actions to be completed within six months of the date of publication, the IMA believes that the potential concerns identified can be resolved and the issue concluded as an Early Case Resolution. The IMA will monitor the Scottish Government’s Compliance with the proposed actions.

Update of Monitoring & Compliance

The IMA has now concluded the Monitoring & Compliance period with the Scottish Government and consider the actions that have been completed will resolve the issues identified.

Does this issue affect you?

The complaints submitted to us help build a picture of where there are common, wide-reaching, or systemic issues with how UK public bodies are implementing the Withdrawal Agreement(s) for EU and EEA EFTA citizens’ rights.