Thousands of failed asylum seekers in the UK are set to get National Health Service (NHS) treatment free of cost under new proposals, the Department of Health (DoH) said.

Asylum seekers whose claim has been refused but cannot return to their countries due to barriers and unaccompanied minors should get free NHS care in guidelines that will be consulted on later in 2009, the DoH said.

Other changes proposed include free NHS treatment to UK residents who have been abroad for up to six months in any given year and assessing the longer-term feasibility of introducing health insurance requirements for visitors.