Emily Rossum tells Jimmy Kimmel how much she liked her treatment at an 'amazing' NHS hospital

'I would get hurt just to get that for free,' says impressed host

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The Independent Online

The NHS – much maligned of late – has received a ringing endorsement from an unlikely new fan.

American actress Emmy Rossum, star of The Phantom of the Opera and more recently the US version of Shameless, drew incredulous laughs from a chat show audience last night as she described her experience of – wonder of wonders – free healthcare while visiting the UK.

Speaking on Jimmy Kimmel Live, the 27-year-old star told how, after falling ill to food poisoning, she was treated in an “amazing” NHS hospital.

Recounting the story to her dumbfounded host – “Free healthcare, how does that work?” – Ms Rossum said: “They don’t even ask for your ID, you give your name, you give your symptoms, they hook you up to a bunch of fluids. They just said leave when you feel like it. You pay nothing.”

“You pay nothing at all?!” Mr Kimmel asked. “Wow! I would get hurt just to get that free.”

While it was unclear what kind of hospital care Ms Rossum received, under existing rules non-EU visitors to the UK can in fact be charged for most hospital care, but not for A&E services.

However, Ms Rossum may have had got her dose of NHS care just in time.

The Government plans to introduce charges for tourists and ineligible migrants, even at the emergency department. While no one will be turned away in an emergency, overseas visitors will be presented with a bill at the end of their stay.

In the USA, most healthcare is provided under insurance schemes paid for by the patient or their employer. Millions of Americans have recently received health insurance cover for the first time under President Obama’s flagship health reforms.