21 August 2014
The UK has a developed healthcare system which provides free service to all the permanent residents of the UK. It is funded by the government buy general taxations. Though the system is unified, each part of the kingdom being Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland and England has their own home systems with a number of differences in care. There is also a private healthcare sector that is much smaller than the public one.
Travellers to the UK from non EU states get free emergency treatment at any hospital belonging to the National Health Service though they are obliged to pay for any additional services and treatments. The United Kingdom has a range of reciprocal healthcare agreements with different countries, such as New Zealand, Australia, and a number of countries in the EU or EEA. These agreements provide nationals from above mentioned countries with free medical treatment.
Some medical services such as dental treatment and prescription are paid for even by permanent UK residents, but other such as infectious diseases are treated free of charge to avoid its further spreading.
If you are confused to what category you belong and what kind of treatment you should expect, visit the Department of Health in the UK website and find all the necessary information before you go. Also, the best way to travel with a peace of mind and not to worry about any possible health trouble is to have a reliable travel insurance that covers your pre-existing medical conditions and other health issues happening during the trip.
There are a big number of both public and private hospitals around the country where you can get the service you need. Not every hospital provides emergency treatment but those that do will accept you and treat your problem depending on its urgency even if you do not have a National Healthcare system number. The minor emergency injuries are treated for free but more serious ones demand additional services and in-hospital treatment that is why you will be charged with a necessary sum of money.
In case you need some hospital treatment, you should have the exact necessary documents with you, for example, the documents proving your immigration status, valid visa, evidence of work or study and which country you came from. If you cannot provide the required documents, the hospital will treat your emergency case, charge and contact the immigration office.
To travel safe and sound without worries and stress, get a decent travel insurance and get to know all the rights you have as for the medical treatment in the country of visit.