Britons living in Spain could find themselves falling victim to a clampdown on expats using the UK’s National Health Service.
Many British people living in other EU countries return to the UK for routine doctors’ visits, and many fail to register with a local doctor in their new country, particularly in the early stages following a move abroad.
In some countries, bureaucracy means registering with local health authorities can take years.
But under new rules that come into force this month, people who make use of the NHS in the UK will be asked to declare that they are ‘ordinarily resident’ in the country.
Those who live elsewhere in the EU, Norway or Switzerland, and who want planned treatment could find themselves forced to pay up-front.
“Free NHS treatment is provided on the basis of someone being ‘ordinarily resident’. It is not dependent upon nationality, payment of UK taxes, national insurance contributions, being registered with a GP, having an NHS number or owning property in the UK,” read a statement issued by the Department of Health.
Even expatriates  seeking emergency treatment during short visits home could also face steep charges if they do not  have their paperwork from their new country in order, as the NHS seeks to claw back £500 million a year (€695 million) in lost revenue.
Likewise in Spain, some new arrivals find that bureaucratic or language hurdles mean they have felt ‘locked-out’ of the heathcare system in their adopted country.
The new regulations could leave people like them seeking private healthcare as the only option.

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