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National Health Service

The UK government provides free or low-cost basic medical services to UK residents through the National Health Service (NHS). In order to use this service, you need to register with a local doctor in your area, before you have a consultation.

 

Medical care

We recommend that you register with a GP in your area as soon as you have a permanent address in the UK. This will allow you access to healthcare as and when you need it.

The NHS in England deals with over one million patients every 36 hours, covering everything from antenatal screenings to transplants and emergency treatment. This means, that while their service is free or low-cost, there can be quite a wait involved.

If you aren’t able to take the time off work, private medical centres, such as Medicentre, are situated across London and make for an efficient and convenient alternative. Please note that you will have to pay for all treatments and consultations done through these centres.

As of 6 April 2015, an annual NHS surcharge, known as the “immigration health surcharge” will apply to all visas valid for longer than six months.

Please note: You will have to pay:

  • £150 per year as a student, e.g. £300 for a 2-year visa
  • £200 per year for all other visa and immigration applications, e.g. £1,000 for a f-year visa

Initially exempt from this surcharge, travellers from Australia and New Zealand will also have to pay the fee from 6 April 2016. You can read more on this here.

Visit http://www.nhs.uk for a 24-hour nurse-led information line.

Dental care

The NHS also contributes to personal dental care. To use this service, register with your local NHS dentist. You will have to pay 75% of the cost of your treatment. You will also find private dental practices throughout London and the UK, but they are substantially more expensive.

Eye care

You can find an optometrists on almost every high street, so it is worth visiting a few and comparing prices. If you wear contact lenses, we recommend bringing a few from home, as these can be particularly expensive in the UK.

Disabled access

All black cabs and buses have wheelchair access and most tourist attractions have facilities for a number of disabilities.

For more information on disabled access, you can visit:

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