A SCOTTISH man who has recently moved south of the Border has been asked to provide “evidence to support their right to free NHS treatment”.

Dave Whitton, who recently moved to Suffolk after spending more than seven decades in Scotland where he was born, has been asked by the health service in England to prove he is “entitled to free NHS care”.

A letter seen by The National cautions him, in underlined print: “It is your responsibility to prove that you are entitled to free NHS treatment.”

The East Suffolk and North Essex NHS trust, which has sent the letter, has given Whitton until January 24, 2022 to prove his eligibility for free treatment.

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It says that patients who are ordinarily resident in the UK will not need to pay, but says that they will “still need to provide evidence” of that.

The letter says that other exemptions exist, and asks Whitton to visit a web address spanning three A4 lines to see them.

Visiting this address takes you to a UK Government page explaining that: “Migrants, visitors and former residents of the UK must pay for their care when they’re in England.”

A video embedded in the page and posted to YouTube apparently makes clear “to whom charging regulations apply”, but it is no longer available on either website.

The rest of the page is taken up with links to analyses and consultations on the policy to charge overseas visitors for healthcare, guidance for NHS organisations, and resources for health professionals.

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These resources include “example letters to NHS visitor and migrant patients”. The skeleton of one of these appears to have been used to create the letter seen by The National.

Another letter template available is a “final reminder” to be sent if the person in question has not yet provided evidence of their eligibility for free NHS treatment.

The template warns: “If you do not respond to this letter we will have to assume that you are chargeable.

“You will be sent an invoice and will be required to pay the full cost of any future NHS hospital treatment.”

A spokesperson from the East Suffolk and North Essex NHS trust said that Whitton hadn’t been “sent the letter because he is Scottish”.

They said that such letters were sent to everybody who entered an NHS hospital across England who didn’t go through the usual “booking-in process”.

“Because he obviously didn’t check in that way … we have to run a check,” they said. “It’s on every single person nationally in England.”

They added that the people who carry out such residency checks are the private and overseas team, “which may have caused the concern”.

Whitton will still need to provide the NHS with evidence of his eligibility for free treatment by the deadline stated on the letter.