Medical treatment

The NHS has a duty to make and recover charges for most kinds of treatment it provides to individuals who are not ordinarily resident in the UK. However, victims have a legal entitlement under the trafficking framework to necessary medical treatment including psychological assistance and counselling. 

For victims who are not ordinarily resident in the UK, Regulation 16 of the National Health Service (Charges to Overseas Visitors) Regulations 2015 provides that no charge may be made or recovered for any NHS services provided to a victim with a positive reasonable grounds decision or a positive conclusive grounds decision. A family member of the victim is also exempt from charges (limited to a spouse, civil partner, or a child), provided the family member is lawfully in the UK.

Following a negative conclusive grounds (CG) decision, an individual (and their family members) is no longer exempt from charges, unless the treatment is already under way. However, it should be noted that even if there is a negative CG decision, the individual is still considered exempt from NHS charges from the point of entry until the negative CG decision.

If a victim is charged for treatment, public law legal advice should be sought as soon as possible. 

Victims are entitled, like everybody in the UK regardless of immigration status, to free-at-the-point-of-use emergency healthcare, family planning services, diagnosis and treatment of most infectious diseases (including Covid-19), diagnosis and treatment of sexually transmitted infections, and treatment for conditions (including mental health conditions) caused by torture, female genital mutilation, domestic violence, or sexual violence (provided they did not travel to the UK for the purposes of seeking that treatment). For a complete list of ‘exempt services’ see Regulation 9 of the National Health Service (Charges to Overseas Visitors) Regulations 2015

No immigration health surcharge is payable by victims with a positive conclusive grounds decision who apply for discretionary leave to remain, or leave to remain as a domestic worker. This is also the case for those who make applications for leave to remain on the basis of (among others) asylum or humanitarian protection, or Article 3 ECHR. 

See Annex F of the guidance


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