Sunday, September 5, 2010

British? Been abroad for a while? No more free NHS treatment for you then!

A public service announcement for expat Brits.

A reader tipped me off to this little snippet that may apply to some of the readers of Muscat Confidential [thx NB].

If you have been living overseas for more than 5 years (and you are not Military, Diplomatic, or a missionary) you and your family are not entitled to the UK's (in)famous free NHS treatment, unless it's an accident and you are being treated in an A&E sense.

Photo: This is the view you may have of the 'free' NHS if you live overseas! ripped from

Really. You can check out all the rules here. Its all very, very complicated.

It's because those free treatment rights are not a function of you being a UK citizen, but paying National Insurance or being permanently resident. So no taxation means no free ride on the NHS.

It can also be a problem for anyone who's been away for more than 3 months. So if you're a pensioner who has a nice pad at the Wave to enjoy the winter months in Oman, watch out!

In fact, the site recommends such emigre Brits get medical insurance for if they return to the UK on holiday.

You've been warned!


  1. That's bloody hilarious - get medical insurance?? Please!
    So, as someone who hardly EVER got sick or hardly ever visited the doctors for 35 odd years, and paid NI for over 12 years, I'm so glad to be British. Such a great system....

  2. Yet another reason not to go back! So does this mean that all the people that have never worked a day in their life, live in council housing, accept state benefits etc. etc. etc. will not enjoy free medical care either??? LMFAO!
    The one and only time I went to a job centre, I was immediately told that I wasn't entitled to unemployment benefit because I had been out of the country for three months. I hadn't even asked for it, as all I was interested in was finding a job. That was the last time I looked towards our establishment for anything.

  3. Here so what about the asylum seekers, EU freebie medical scroungers and all the 3rd world country loafers who actually dont live there but still manage to get everything for free who infact have never paid nor have their families paid a penny in any form of taxation to the country. And what about people like Abu Hamza who doesnt work at all and has multitude of wives and all get free housing and benefits without having ever to pay any tax. What about teenage mums who get free housing and all for having kids out of wedlock who have never worked or paid any taxes. Oh yeah - explain somebody??????


  4. Is it correct that UK types don't have to pay UK taxes when living abroad? If so, then this makes perfect sense. It should be less than five years too.

    -Omani in US

  5. Over many years overseas I visited a doctor twice, in different towns, for minor problems and my son had two doctor appointments, all while back in the UK on leave. In each case I told them that we were expatriate and every time they said it it was not worth the time and effort of filling in the forms.

    So I don't think it is a new story and I doubt if much has changed in the way expatriates will be treated.

  6. and thats not all......

  7. Its always been the case or since 1994 as I know of. See
    page 30 - you are entitled to emergency treatment.


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