Find information about obtaining medication and medical advice in the UK
Health and the NHS
The National Health Service (NHS) is the publicly funded healthcare system for England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland.
Before you come to the UK, please ensure that you familiarise yourself with the UK’s National Health Service (NHS) as it will likely be quite different to your health system at home. The NHS is the UK’s publicly funded health care system. As part of the visa process, the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office pays the Immigration Health Surcharge on your behalf, which allows you to have access to the NHS.
What services are available on the NHS?
Services include but are not limited to:
- A&E – For emergencies and life threatening conditions
- Urgent care centres/minor injuries unit/walk in centres – For minor injuries or illness that can’t wait to be seen by a GP.
- General Practitioner – Also called a GP can be seen for minor and ongoing illnesses and conditions.
- Pharmacies – for general medical advice about common ailments and minor illnesses
If you or someone else is seriously ill with a life-threatening condition, please call 999.
We recommend that you purchase your own insurance (which includes medical insurance) to cover your time in the UK even if you can access the NHS free of charge. Waiting lists for NHS treatment can be long and if you have insurance that allows you access to private medical care, you may be able to get treatment more quickly.
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