Ultimate expat guide to healthcare in UK

Staying healthy in your new home

Ultimate expat guide to healthcare in UK

When you first arrive as an expat in the UK, it can be somewhat confusing to figure out all of the details of a new healthcare system. Here is some important information that you will need to know when using the UK healthcare system.

So you’ve arrived in your new home in the UK, eager to start your life as an expat. There are many important things that you will have to arrange when you first arrive and one of the most crucial is your healthcare. Here are a few important pointers that you should know about the healthcare system in the UK. 

How do you register with a GP in the UK?

When you arrive in the UK it is a good idea to register with a local GP or General Practitioner. It is up to you which doctor you choose, but one of the best ways to find a good doctor is to ask around to your friends, co-workers and neighbours to see who they would recommend. This way you will get a first-hand idea of the quality of the doctor. You can also find a list of the local GPs in your area in the Yellow Pages or online.

If you are not confident with your English and you would rather have a doctor who speaks your native language, you can contact your embassy and they should be able to provide you with a list of appropriate doctors.

When you register with the GP you will need to fill out a form with all your information and you will be invited to make an appointment for a health check every six months. Check-ups and screenings are important to your well-being as they can help to catch the signs of diseases early so that they can be treated.

What is the difference between public and private healthcare in the UK?

In the UK, the NHS  or National Health Service is the public healthcare service which has existed since 1948 to provide free healthcare to all residents of the UK, all workers on the Highly Skilled Migrants Programme, British Nationals and those in Employment. It’s defining feature is that it is free at the point of need, so that whenever you are sick or injured and go to the hospital it is provided free of charge. It is funded through taxes and is managed by the Department of Health.

There are also private healthcare providers such as Blossoms Healthcare and some expats choose to pay extra for their special services. Many people choose to seek out private medical treatment because they wish to avoid the lengthy waiting lists which sometimes occur when waiting for treatment from the NHS. For example, some private healthcare clinics offer same day doctor services.

Although private healthcare costs more, it offers faster treatment access and a choice of consultant as well; also allowing you to choose when and where you are treated. Private healthcare is often provided as part of a work-based health insurance package or it can be on a “self-pay” basis where individuals pay directly for treatment.

Figuring out healthcare can be confusing when you arrive in a new country, but it is important that you set yourself up with care whether via the NHS or a private doctor, so that you can stay healthy in your new home. 

This article has been submitted by Blossoms Healthcare

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