The (UK) government said it would raise five hundred million pounds a year from treating overseas visitors on the NHS but it's falling well short so the pressure is on to get hospitals to do more checks to allow NHS bosses to claim back from foreign governments. A plan to get all patients to produce identification for non-urgent hospital care is being considered.

I checked OALD, Cambridge Dictionary and LDOCE to see whether do checks (cheque) exists but I didn't see a sentence with this structure. However, I thought that it would be the shorten version of check-up. What does 'check' mean here?

The news is taken from BBC Learning English I couldn't find the whole story on web.

  • Yes, it seems to mean 'check-ups'. Certainly nothing to do with bankers' cheques. Sep 7, 2022 at 16:29
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    On second thoughts, it probably means 'checking whether or not the patient is a UK resident'. If they are, they get free NHS treatment funded by taxes. If they come from overseas, the NHS needs to claim the cost from the patient's home country. Sep 7, 2022 at 16:43
  • @KateBunting thank you. I think it'll be better if I find the whole story -if I can. Do you know whether it's correct to write 'Do checks (cheque)' meaning bankers' cheques ? I saw 'make checks' before but have never seen 'do checks'
    – user138449
    Sep 7, 2022 at 16:51
  • @orhantorun no, "cheques" are never "done"
    – Esther
    Sep 7, 2022 at 17:31
  • No, it isn't - that's why I said it definitely didn't mean that. You can pay by cheque, write a cheque etc (check in American English), but not do cheques. Sep 7, 2022 at 17:33

1 Answer 1


I believe that 'check' in this context means to 'contact' or 'inquire.'

Example, if you wanted to see if a friend was available this weekend you'd say 'I'll check with her to see if she's free

What the statement seems to be saying is that the NHS frequently treats foreigners and that the British government wants the NHS to contact (i.e. check with) the governments of countries those foreigners came from to get paid back for the medical care.

Hope this helps.

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    Welcome to Ell, thanks for the answer, and what a cute photo!
    – user138449
    Sep 7, 2022 at 16:54
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    The checks are clearly with the patients (to see whether they are entitled to free treatment). if they are not, a claim might be made from the government of their foreign country. Sep 7, 2022 at 17:36
  • @MichaelHarvey Yeah that could be. I'm an American so don't really know exactly how the UK's healthcare works and how they handle this, but I think that the meaning of 'check' in this case is correct either way. Sep 7, 2022 at 18:05
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    This isn't quite right. They want to hospitals to make more accurate determination of a visitor's right to free treatment. That check would be, for instance, to ask to see their passport or citizenship papers, rather than just accepting what they say. Sep 8, 2022 at 9:03

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