“It is a long overdue step in the right direction to bringing the NHS back round to what it was set up to be; a national health service, not an international health service.
The party has also called for anyone without health insurance to be banned from entering the UK, in a bid to stop “health tourism”.
While emergency medical treatment would remain free at the point of access, costs would be recovered by the NHS from the insurers under the party’s plans.
A Department of Health spokesperson agreed that under the current system too many patients were receiving care and not paying,
Tim Aker, Head of UKIP’s Policy Unit, said: “This change will help to reduce the administrative burden on doctors and hospitals as health insurance would be made a condition of gaining a visa to the UK. Insurance details would then be recorded during the registration process which applies to all patients at GP surgeries and health centres.
“Currently overseas visitors, whether lawfully in the UK or not, are able to register with a GP practise.
“Overseas Visitors Officers are employed by hospitals to identify and then interview foreign patients in order to invoice to recover costs for people not entitled to free NHS care.
“However this is simply not happening.
“Many hospitals are overburdened with long waiting times and do not want to act as immigration officials while the NHS is already buckling under the weight of administration. Many Trusts simply brush under the carpet these claims in order to cover up their liability to unpaid costs.
“As a result health tourism in the UK is a growing problem costing the UK taxpayer untold amounts per year.
“This is a simple and effective way of ensuring healthcare is available to all who come to Britain, as a tourist or migrant, without opening the system up to abuse.
“It is a long overdue step in the right direction to bringing the NHS back round to what it was set up to be; a national health service, not an international health service.”
A Department of Health report published last year showed there is an average of 1.4 million residents in England who have been in the country less than five years and do not have a right of permanent residence.
The report also estimated there are 500,000 illegal immigrants in the country, and overall they account for more than half of those who are currently chargeable.
A Department of Health spokesperson said: “We have a National Health Service, not an international health service, and we must stamp out abuse of the system to get fairness for our taxpayers.
“The current rules give too much free care to too many visitors and too often patients who should pay are not identified. We need to introduce practical, effective ways to make sure that patients who aren’t eligible pay their way.
“We recently consulted on how the system can be improved to ensure it is sustainable and fair. We will set our plans for the future shortly.”
The announcement was made on the eve of Ukip’s autumn conference, which is being held in Westminster, London.
The two day event will see debates on Europe, immigration and culture, as well as a marking of the 20th anniversary of the formation of the party.
See on www.express.co.uk