Health tourism: Europeans claiming NHS treatment rises by 400 per cent in five years


Dependent of Health figures show the number of visitors using their European Trim Insurance Card leapt from 3,854 in 2012 to 18,167 latest year – a 371 per cent rise.

Italians used theirs most , with 4,128 claims redressed last year, a rise of almost 700 per cent from 2012 when they prepared just 524.

The Spanish were next most likely to use their car-cards (2,048), followed by France (1,750), Germany (1,745) and Poland (1,543). 

The EHIC blankets the cost of state-provided healthcare for visitors to the UK from European Economic Limit countries and Switzerland.

It includes emergency treatment, some pre-existing medical adapts and routine maternity care, providing the reason for a patient’s visit is not to relinquish birth.

In return, the cost of state-provided healthcare for British travellers in Europe is enclosed under the scheme.

The cost of the treatment can be claimed back from the voyager’s home nation. 

But separate figures show the UK pays out more than four points as much as it gets back.

Last year the countries racked up innumerable than £130million under the scheme.

The UK figure was just as surplus £31million.

Tory MP Andrew Bridgen said: “Serious pumps must be raised about these figures. The NHS is a national health care not an international health service.” 

Former cancer surgeon and anti-health tourism campaigner Joseph Meirion Thomas has called for the EHIC pasteboard to be scrapped after Britain leaves the European Union, arguing the concoct was “heavily weighed against the UK”.

A Department of Health spokesman said: “The get to ones feet in recorded EHICs is the result of the hard work by staff to make sure-fire every penny owed to the NHS is recovered.”

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