THE NHS in Wales must follow England’s example and introduce upfront charges for foreign patients, a Gwent AM has said.

From April hospitals in England will charge non-UK patients for non-urgent treatment before they are treated.

Although these patients are already charged, this is usually done afterwards via invoice. This will not apply to emergency patients or those eligible for free care.

Speaking in the Senedd on Tuesday, South Wales East’s Mohammad Asghar said he was concerned the English scheme would increase the pressure on the Welsh NHS.

“There is a danger that pressure on the NHS in Wales could be increased by foreign patients seeking non-urgent treatment here, rather than in England, unless a similar scheme is introduced in Wales,” he said.

Leader of the house Jane Hutt said the idea of approaching patients for payment before they are treated was “quite horrifying”.

She added guidance for the Welsh NHS would be updated in due course.