Bath's Royal United Hospitall claws back £500,000 from overseas patients
The Royal United Hospital has recovered more than £500,000 from foreign patients in the last three years.
As demands grow for a shake-up of the health system, the RUH, in Bath, has revealed it has clawed back most of the cost of NHS treatment from foreigners not entitled to free care.
UKIP says the current system, where hospitals recover costs from foreigners not entitled to free care, is not working and should be replaced by a visa regime.
Since 2010, 99 invoices have been raised by the RUH to recover costs of NHS treatment from foreign patients, totalling £593,292.
Of this amount £546,454 has been recovered by the hospital.
This year alone 26 invoices were raised, amounting to £185,698, of which £155,671 has been so far recovered.
At the moment foreigners can register with a GP practice and receive free consultations whether they are lawfully in the UK or not.
Migrants from outside the EU are required to pay for hospital treatment while in the UK, but only a few do at the moment.
The Department of Health has said the cost of treating foreigners is at least £30 million a year for the NHS in England alone, although practitioners have said the figure could be much higher.
However GPs have expressed concerns about being asked to enforce any new rules, saying their first duty is to the patient and not to establishing their immigration or financial status.