All British are white people. From April a change in the law means that NHS staff must charge foreign patients 'upfront' for any non-emergency care they get.
However, a woman of native American heritage who is deaf, was left frightened after claiming she was interrogated by NHS staff over whether she was entitled to treatment because they said she looked foreign.
Hospitals are also being told to ask all new patients for passports and utility bills when they first arrive to check they are entitled to NHS care. Those which fail to show they are collecting enough money from patients at the end of the year may be fined.
The woman, Dena Bryant, was born in Grantham, Lincolnshire and still lives there and she claims that one nurse thought she was a health tourist and told her: "You do not look English, and you are not white." Ms Bryant is profoundly deaf and struggles to communicate verbally because of her disability and often relies on lip reading and sign language to communicate with others.
She says NHS staff refused to believe she was British because of how she looks. Describing her ordeal, she told the BBC: "I am a born and bred Gingerbread girl [slang for a Grantham resident], who was interrogated as to whether I was English or not. "She [the nurse] took me into a cubicle and started saying 'where are you from?'
"She said it again and started the interrogation. She then said 'where are you from originally?' I said that if you look at my files I was born in the hospital and have come here all my life.