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NHS treatment to save life...Help!

NHS treatment to save life...Help!

Old Mar 16th 2010, 2:52 pm
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Unhappy NHS treatment to save life...Help!

Hi all,
This will be a long post but I'd be really grateful if you'd bear with me and let me know of any advice you may have as I'm going out of my mind with stress right now. My question is not regarding me, but my sister, who's 23. We are both British citizens, born and bred, but when we were younger our dad moved to the US. We stayed in the UK with our mum. When we were in our late teens our dad applied for us to have green cards, even though we didn't want them. When I was 22 (in 2007) I went over after Uni, to check it out, stayed for 8 months and came home. I stayed in California and everyone thought I was crazy to come back but I love the UK. In 2008, after my sister finished Uni she went over to Cali with her bf (he'd go back and forth as he didn't have a visa/Green card). She decided to give it a year, to see if she liked it or not. She gave it a year and a bit and in the Autumn of 2009, she decided it wasn't for her. She was going to give in her notice at her job, and she applied to Uni in England, to study nursing. She applied through UCAS for deffered entry so she'd be resident again in the UK before she started in 2010. She was offered an interview in Dec 2009, and planned to return home in early November 2009.

Late October, I had a phonecall back here to say that my sister had collapsed, and was having seizures. She was taken to hospital and an MRI scan showed a brain tumour. She was stable but days later she relapsed and suffered intracranial pressure/swelling, she had emergency life saving surgery to remove the bone skull on the left side to allow for the swelling. A biopsy showed that her tumour was cancerous, and would need surgery as it was a very large tumour. After she came around from the surgery, she had no memory, couldn't speak properly or swallow, had aphasia (where she mixed up words, eg calling chocolate chicken) right side weakness, and had to learn to walk, talk and do everything from scratch. She had severely impaired cognitive function too so couldn't really think or cope by herself.

She needed surgery but as the tumour was pressing on her speech site, they had to perform the surgery while she was awake, so the surgeon knew what to cut away and what not to touch. Her speech would have to be at an adequate level, for her to communicate well enough with the surgeons during the surgery. She was already desperate to go back to England (she remembered being younger in the UK but had no memory of the last 3-4 years so was scared and confused to be away from home). But we were told that with no bone skull she couldn't fly, so we had to wait for her to have speech therapy and physical therapy in the US, have her surgery, then go home.

I flew over in Nov for a week, then went back in Jan for 2 months. I was only 24 at the time and it was the hardest thing I've ever had to do.....juggle my sister's medical bills, navigate the crazy US health system, sort out my sisters insurance, cobra etc, whilst also being a full time carer for my sister (with no financial support etc as I'm not a US resident) and trying to reassure my family and friends back in the UK. My sister also had regular seizures, and was frequently rushed to hospital during the months before her operation. I didn't sleep properly for two months as I'd lie awake to watch her breathing/in case she had a seizure. The American hospital discharged her long before she was ready (I think for the benefit of the insurance company), so basically I had to care 100% for her, I was literally all she had.

She finally had her operation in Feb. We were told we could go home at the end of Feb. She was discharged from hospital 3 days after having a 12 hour operation on her brain whilst being awake througout. We'd only been home a few hours when she had a massive seizure and was taken back to hospital and put in the ICU, as she got trapped in a 'seizure loop'...the seizures were continous and she had to be sedated to bring her out of it.

When she came round she had again relapsed with her speech and function and would need more physical and speech therapy. We were also told, 5/6 months after the initial illness, that the tumour was not a grade 2 but a grade 3 more aggressive tumour, and that she'd need chemo and radiotherapy asap. By now I just couldn't take any more I was physically and mentally drained and we were so desperate to get home that as soon as she was medically stable we were on a plane. We landed 4 days ago and thank the lord my sister was ok on the flight. But now we have another obstacle to face...

We are not claiming any kind of benefits in the US as as far as we are concerned we now live in the UK, my sister gave up her green card. We no longer have US health insurance either, we terminated everything in the US before we left. But as I understand, as my sister was away she can't claim anything in the UK either. I am not really worried about that as I will support her but there is a big problem with the NHS treatment...I'm not sure, is she entitled to treatment?

She needs chemo asap and medication etc that I assumed she could get on the NHS but now, after researching the net I'm not sure she will be able to get it. Can the NHS refuse to treat her? If they charge her for the treatment, we will be in trouble...my mum dosen't have a lot of money and my savings were wiped out on flights back and forth and supporting me and my sis in the US. I'm really really scared now about what's going to happen and if it's going to be my fault for bringing her back here. So my question is,
does anyone know if we can get treatment on the NHS, and also, if my sis is eligible for any kind of financial support/help. Will we have to pay for NHS treatment? Has anyone else been in this situation? Before we left America I assumed we'd be treated in the UK for free as when I was a student there was always a myriad of people from around the world using the GP's services etc free of chrage. So to read we may not be treated was a shock. My sis is still a British citizen, has a UK passport, lived in the UK for 21.5 of her 23 years and is now resident in the UK again. Please anyone with prior exp on this issue /any knowledge share your advice

Thanks SO much for reading sorry this post is sooooo long!
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Old Mar 16th 2010, 2:58 pm
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Default Re: NHS treatment to save life...Help!

Originally Posted by confusedgirl View Post
Hi all,
This will be a long post but I'd be really grateful if you'd bear with me and let me know of any advice you may have as I'm going out of my mind with stress right now. My question is not regarding me, but my sister, who's 23. We are both British citizens, born and bred, but when we were younger our dad moved to the US. We stayed in the UK with our mum. When we were in our late teens our dad applied for us to have green cards, even though we didn't want them. When I was 22 (in 2007) I went over after Uni, to check it out, stayed for 8 months and came home. I stayed in California and everyone thought I was crazy to come back but I love the UK. In 2008, after my sister finished Uni she went over to Cali with her bf (he'd go back and forth as he didn't have a visa/Green card). She decided to give it a year, to see if she liked it or not. She gave it a year and a bit and in the Autumn of 2009, she decided it wasn't for her. She was going to give in her notice at her job, and she applied to Uni in England, to study nursing. She applied through UCAS for deffered entry so she'd be resident again in the UK before she started in 2010. She was offered an interview in Dec 2009, and planned to return home in early November 2009.
Late October, I had a phonecall back here to say that my sister had collapsed, and was having seizures. She was taken to hospital and an MRI scan showed a brain tumour. She was stable but days later she relapsed and suffered intracranial pressure/swelling, she had emergency life saving surgery to remove the bone skull on the left side to allow for the swelling. A biopsy showed that her tumour was cancerous, and would need surgery as it was a very large tumour. After she came around from the surgery, she had no memory, couldn't speak properly or swallow, had aphasia (where she mixed up words, eg calling chocolate chicken) right side weakness, and had to learn to walk, talk and do everything from scratch. She had severely impaired cognitive function too so couldn't really think or cope by herself.
She needed surgery but as the tumour was pressing on her speech site, they had to perform the surgery while she was awake, so the surgeon knew what to cut away and what not to touch. Her speech would have to be at an adequate level, for her to communicate well enough with the surgeons during the surgery. She was already desperate to go back to England (she remembered being younger in the UK but had no memory of the last 3-4 years so was scared and confused to be away from home). But we were told that with no bone skull she couldn't fly, so we had to wait for her to have speech therapy and physical therapy in the US, have her surgery, then go home.
I flew over in Nov for a week, then went back in Jan for 2 months. I was only 24 at the time and it was the hardest thing I've ever had to do.....juggle my sister's medical bills, navigate the crazy US health system, sort out my sisters insurance, cobra etc, whilst also being a full time carer for my sister (with no financial support etc as I'm not a US resident) and trying to reassure my family and friends back in the UK. My sister also had regular seizures, and was frequently rushed to hospital during the months before her operation. I didn't sleep properly for two months as I'd lie awake to watch her breathing/in case she had a seizure. The American hospital discharged her long before she was ready (I think for the benefit of the insurance company), so basically I had to care 100% for her, I was literally all she had.
She finally had her operation in Feb. We were told we could go home at the end of Feb. She was discharged from hospital 3 days after having a 12 hour operation on her brain whilst being awake througout. We'd only been home a few hours when she had a massive seizure and was taken back to hospital and put in the ICU, as she got trapped in a 'seizure loop'...the seizures were continous and she had to be sedated to bring her out of it.
When she came round she had again relapsed with her speech and function and would need more physical and speech therapy. We were also told, 5/6 months after the initial illness, that the tumour was not a grade 2 but a grade 3 more aggressive tumour, and that she'd need chemo and radiotherapy asap. By now I just couldn't take any more I was physically and mentally drained and we were so desperate to get home that as soon as she was medically stable we were on a plane. We landed 4 days ago and thank the lord my sister was ok on the flight. But now we have another obstacle to face...
We are not claiming any kind of benefits in the US as as far as we are concerned we now live in the UK, my sister gave up her green card. We no longer have US health insurance either, we terminated everything in the US before we left. But as I understand, as my sister was away she can't claim anything in the UK either. I am not really worried about that as I will support her but there is a big problem with the NHS treatment...I'm not sure, is she entitled to treatment?
She needs chemo asap and medication etc that I assumed she could get on the NHS but now, after researching the net I'm not sure she will be able to get it. Can the NHS refuse to treat her? If they charge her for the treatment, we will be in trouble...my mum dosen't have a lot of money and my savings were wiped out on flights back and forth and supporting me and my sis in the US. I'm really really scared now about what's going to happen and if it's going to be my fault for bringing her back here. So my question is,
does anyone know if we can get treatment on the NHS, and also, if my sis is eligible for any kind of financial support/help. Will we have to pay for NHS treatment? Has anyone else been in this situation? Before we left America I assumed we'd be treated in the UK for free as when I was a student there was always a myriad of people from around the world using the GP's services etc free of chrage. So to read we may not be treated was a shock. My sis is still a British citizen, has a UK passport, lived in the UK for 21.5 of her 23 years and is now resident in the UK again. Please anyone with prior exp on this issue /any knowledge share your advice
Thanks SO much for reading sorry this post is sooooo long!
Sorry I can't offer any advice but just my thoughts and prayers that you and your sister get all the help you need. xxx
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Old Mar 16th 2010, 3:18 pm
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Default Re: NHS treatment to save life...Help!

Originally Posted by confusedgirl View Post
Hi all,
This will be a long post but I'd be really grateful if you'd bear with me and let me know of any advice you may have as I'm going out of my mind with stress right now. My question is not regarding me, but my sister, who's 23. We are both British citizens, born and bred, but when we were younger our dad moved to the US. We stayed in the UK with our mum. When we were in our late teens our dad applied for us to have green cards, even though we didn't want them. When I was 22 (in 2007) I went over after Uni, to check it out, stayed for 8 months and came home. I stayed in California and everyone thought I was crazy to come back but I love the UK. In 2008, after my sister finished Uni she went over to Cali with her bf (he'd go back and forth as he didn't have a visa/Green card). She decided to give it a year, to see if she liked it or not. She gave it a year and a bit and in the Autumn of 2009, she decided it wasn't for her. She was going to give in her notice at her job, and she applied to Uni in England, to study nursing. She applied through UCAS for deffered entry so she'd be resident again in the UK before she started in 2010. She was offered an interview in Dec 2009, and planned to return home in early November 2009.
Late October, I had a phonecall back here to say that my sister had collapsed, and was having seizures. She was taken to hospital and an MRI scan showed a brain tumour. She was stable but days later she relapsed and suffered intracranial pressure/swelling, she had emergency life saving surgery to remove the bone skull on the left side to allow for the swelling. A biopsy showed that her tumour was cancerous, and would need surgery as it was a very large tumour. After she came around from the surgery, she had no memory, couldn't speak properly or swallow, had aphasia (where she mixed up words, eg calling chocolate chicken) right side weakness, and had to learn to walk, talk and do everything from scratch. She had severely impaired cognitive function too so couldn't really think or cope by herself.
She needed surgery but as the tumour was pressing on her speech site, they had to perform the surgery while she was awake, so the surgeon knew what to cut away and what not to touch. Her speech would have to be at an adequate level, for her to communicate well enough with the surgeons during the surgery. She was already desperate to go back to England (she remembered being younger in the UK but had no memory of the last 3-4 years so was scared and confused to be away from home). But we were told that with no bone skull she couldn't fly, so we had to wait for her to have speech therapy and physical therapy in the US, have her surgery, then go home.
I flew over in Nov for a week, then went back in Jan for 2 months. I was only 24 at the time and it was the hardest thing I've ever had to do.....juggle my sister's medical bills, navigate the crazy US health system, sort out my sisters insurance, cobra etc, whilst also being a full time carer for my sister (with no financial support etc as I'm not a US resident) and trying to reassure my family and friends back in the UK. My sister also had regular seizures, and was frequently rushed to hospital during the months before her operation. I didn't sleep properly for two months as I'd lie awake to watch her breathing/in case she had a seizure. The American hospital discharged her long before she was ready (I think for the benefit of the insurance company), so basically I had to care 100% for her, I was literally all she had.
She finally had her operation in Feb. We were told we could go home at the end of Feb. She was discharged from hospital 3 days after having a 12 hour operation on her brain whilst being awake througout. We'd only been home a few hours when she had a massive seizure and was taken back to hospital and put in the ICU, as she got trapped in a 'seizure loop'...the seizures were continous and she had to be sedated to bring her out of it.
When she came round she had again relapsed with her speech and function and would need more physical and speech therapy. We were also told, 5/6 months after the initial illness, that the tumour was not a grade 2 but a grade 3 more aggressive tumour, and that she'd need chemo and radiotherapy asap. By now I just couldn't take any more I was physically and mentally drained and we were so desperate to get home that as soon as she was medically stable we were on a plane. We landed 4 days ago and thank the lord my sister was ok on the flight. But now we have another obstacle to face...
We are not claiming any kind of benefits in the US as as far as we are concerned we now live in the UK, my sister gave up her green card. We no longer have US health insurance either, we terminated everything in the US before we left. But as I understand, as my sister was away she can't claim anything in the UK either. I am not really worried about that as I will support her but there is a big problem with the NHS treatment...I'm not sure, is she entitled to treatment?
She needs chemo asap and medication etc that I assumed she could get on the NHS but now, after researching the net I'm not sure she will be able to get it. Can the NHS refuse to treat her? If they charge her for the treatment, we will be in trouble...my mum dosen't have a lot of money and my savings were wiped out on flights back and forth and supporting me and my sis in the US. I'm really really scared now about what's going to happen and if it's going to be my fault for bringing her back here. So my question is,
does anyone know if we can get treatment on the NHS, and also, if my sis is eligible for any kind of financial support/help. Will we have to pay for NHS treatment? Has anyone else been in this situation? Before we left America I assumed we'd be treated in the UK for free as when I was a student there was always a myriad of people from around the world using the GP's services etc free of chrage. So to read we may not be treated was a shock. My sis is still a British citizen, has a UK passport, lived in the UK for 21.5 of her 23 years and is now resident in the UK again. Please anyone with prior exp on this issue /any knowledge share your advice
Thanks SO much for reading sorry this post is sooooo long!
Hi

We came back from Canada (After 5 yrs away). My wife isn't even British (though she is a resident) and she became very ill only a few months after we arrived back. At no point were we asked any questions about nationality. She was treated, free of charge on the NHS immediately, by one of the top consultants in her field with an eyewateringly expensive treatment. The treatment and follow up was exemplary. I can't comment from the US point of view but our experience would point to the fact that she really shouldn't have any problems.
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Old Mar 16th 2010, 3:30 pm
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Default Re: NHS treatment to save life...Help!

Originally Posted by confusedgirl View Post
Hi all, .......
Thanks SO much for reading sorry this post is sooooo long!
Your sister is once again permanently resident in the UK and thus eligible to receive treatment under the NHS.

Are you registered with a GP? Why not talk to him/her in the first instance.

Or contact your local cancer network:

http://www.cancer.nhs.uk/networks.htm

and/or NHS Direct:

http://www.nhsdirect.nhs.uk/

and/or Macmillan:

http://www.macmillan.org.uk/Home.aspx

Start making some phone calls - maybe start with Macmillan because they have a reputation for caring:
Our cancer support specialists are here to offer practical, medical emotional and financial support, whether it's you or a loved one that has or has had cancer.
Questions? Call free on 0808 808 00 00
Our cancer support specialists are available Monday to Friday, 9am-8pm. Calls from landlines and mobiles (3, O2, Orange, T-mobile, Virgin & Vodafone) are free.

You are doing a wonderful job helping your sister!
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Old Mar 16th 2010, 4:55 pm
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Default Re: NHS treatment to save life...Help!

I know that the NHS does ask if you have lived outside of the UK in the last 12 months which for your sister you will need to answer yes but explain that she is a British citizen and is now habitually resident again. She will be entitled to full medical care.
You will need to see your GP and get a referral to see a consultant to begin her treatment. Did she ever notify her GP that she was leaving the UK to go to the US? I'm sure once you explain, the GP will do an urgent referral for your sister to be seen straight away.
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Old Mar 17th 2010, 7:18 am
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Default Re: NHS treatment to save life...Help!

Reside in the UK and register with the GP - you have the right to if you are a resident.

The hospital may ask you if you have been in the country for a year. You can say no and explain that you are a resident because you intend to stay. Your nationality is not relevant.

Take with you a council tax bill / phone bill or something in her name as proof of residency. Bank statements are not allowed.

Remember it is not to do with nationality it is to do with residency.
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Old Mar 17th 2010, 8:27 am
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Default Re: NHS treatment to save life...Help!

Originally Posted by Bijilo123 View Post
Reside in the UK and register with the GP - you have the right to if you are a resident.

The hospital may ask you if you have been in the country for a year. You can say no and explain that you are a resident because you intend to stay. Your nationality is not relevant.

Take with you a council tax bill / phone bill or something in her name as proof of residency. Bank statements are not allowed.

Remember it is not to do with nationality it is to do with residency.
If she says no to being out of the country, then how will she explain the treatment received in the US and her sisters condition currently?
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Old Mar 17th 2010, 12:42 pm
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Default Re: NHS treatment to save life...Help!

You are doing a wonderful job helping your sister!
Thanks for your kind words it means a lot!
And thankyou to everyone that answered, I clicked on a link (forgot where/on which post) to the home office website, and it seems that as long as she's resident again in the UK (rather than just visiting) she is entitled to free treatment. Which is a HUGE relief. Thanks again everyone for answering it is much appreciated
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Old Mar 17th 2010, 1:32 pm
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Default Re: NHS treatment to save life...Help!

Originally Posted by confusedgirl View Post
Thanks for your kind words it means a lot!
And thankyou to everyone that answered, I clicked on a link (forgot where/on which post) to the home office website, and it seems that as long as she's resident again in the UK (rather than just visiting) she is entitled to free treatment. Which is a HUGE relief. Thanks again everyone for answering it is much appreciated
Good luck with everything, and please report back. We are always willing to help. But do talk to the people at Macmillan - I think they are best able to point you in the right direction, as well as lending a sympathetic ear and hopefully providing some emotional support.
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Old Mar 17th 2010, 2:22 pm
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Default Re: NHS treatment to save life...Help!

I just came back to live in England after 26 years of living in Australia, nobody asked me how long I had been overseas for.

I have been to the doctor a couple of times for minor things like the 'flu, all free on the NHS.

Your NH number is given to you when you are born.

As she was born in the UK, then there will be no problems.

On my short birth certificate the letters and numbers of the NH number are there, although this has now reverted to an all numbering system. I even remembered them after all these years.

Your sister is British, she is home, no more worrying.

All the very best to her for a speedy recovery, my prayers to you both.

Kindest Regards
Barb

p.s. My daughters boyfriend is Australian (though his dad was English) and whilst working over here many years ago had quite a major accident and spent some months in hospital all free of charge.

Last edited by Beedubya; Mar 17th 2010 at 2:25 pm.
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Old Mar 18th 2010, 9:41 pm
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Default Re: NHS treatment to save life...Help!

Originally Posted by bromleygirl View Post
If she says no to being out of the country, then how will she explain the treatment received in the US and her sisters condition currently?
By saying that she intends to stay and shows the documents I described. This is exactly what happened to me when I arrived from Gambia and ended up in Addenbrookes a couple of weeks ago. You don't need a qualifying period of residence - just the intention to reside.
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Old Mar 18th 2010, 9:42 pm
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Default Re: NHS treatment to save life...Help!

Originally Posted by Beedubya View Post
I just came back to live in England after 26 years of living in Australia, nobody asked me how long I had been overseas for.

I have been to the doctor a couple of times for minor things like the 'flu, all free on the NHS.

Your NH number is given to you when you are born.

As she was born in the UK, then there will be no problems.

On my short birth certificate the letters and numbers of the NH number are there, although this has now reverted to an all numbering system. I even remembered them after all these years.

Your sister is British, she is home, no more worrying.

All the very best to her for a speedy recovery, my prayers to you both.

Kindest Regards
Barb

p.s. My daughters boyfriend is Australian (though his dad was English) and whilst working over here many years ago had quite a major accident and spent some months in hospital all free of charge.
Sorry, this is nonsense - it is not to do with being British it is only to do with Residency and nothing else. That explains your ps.
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Old Mar 19th 2010, 12:20 am
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Default Re: NHS treatment to save life...Help!

Originally Posted by Bijilo123 View Post
Sorry, this is nonsense - it is not to do with being British it is only to do with Residency and nothing else. That explains your ps.
What is nonsence?

Your National Health number is on your birth certificate. Go and check.
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Old Mar 19th 2010, 12:32 am
  #14  
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Default Re: NHS treatment to save life...Help!

Originally Posted by Beedubya View Post
What is nonsence?

Your National Health number is on your birth certificate. Go and check.
I know what a National Insurance number is but I have never been asked for a National Health number and neither are on my birth certificate. Is this something new? I obtained a replacement birth certificate in 1985. I do not live in the UK so I am obviously out of date with these issues.

Last edited by johnh009; Mar 19th 2010 at 12:36 am.
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Old Mar 19th 2010, 7:04 am
  #15  
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Default Re: NHS treatment to save life...Help!

Originally Posted by johnh009 View Post
I know what a National Insurance number is but I have never been asked for a National Health number and neither are on my birth certificate. Is this something new? I obtained a replacement birth certificate in 1985. I do not live in the UK so I am obviously out of date with these issues.

This was from when I was born (1953 ) and it was on the short birth certificate.
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