Wednesday 25 January 2012

London hospitals write off 'over 90%' owed by foreign patients


London hospitals have written off more than 90% of what they are owed by foreign patients not entitled to free NHS care, BBC London has learned. A Freedom of Information request showed Newham Hospital Trust wrote off 96% of what it had invoiced last year. Meanwhile, Basildon and Thurrock wrote off 97% of what it was owed, having previously recovered £68,061 out of £116,561 of its debt. In total, £7.6m was written off by 33 NHS trusts in the region, since 2009. Across the trusts, a total of £26m is owed by patients, of which £18.4m continues to be actively sought. However, hospital trusts said chasing the money was difficult if patients leave the UK. In a statement, Basildon and Thurrock said: "We scrupulously manage our finances and only write off debt after following the full debt collection process." Continue reading the main story Hospital variations in amount written off Newham Hospital wrote off £345,000 out of £358,000 Basildon and Thurrock wrote off £47,000 out of £48,500 Hillingdon hospital wrote off £335,000 out of £660,000 Luton and Dunstable wrote off 2,000 out of 85,000 South London wrote off £29,000 out of £481,000 All figures relate to 2010-11 All hospitals are required to recover money owed for treating these patients.