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UK Healthcare – National Health Service, NHS, Treatment, Primary care

UK Healthcare

Living and Working in the UK- UK Healthcare

Immigration to UK / England – UK Healthcare – National Health Service, NHS, Treatment, Primary care, Dentist, GP, Walk-in centers, Hospital, medical

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UK Healthcare

UK Healthcare – National Health Service, NHS, Treatment, Primary care, Dentist, GP, Walk-in centers, Hospital, medical


The National Health Service (NHS) is the UK’s system of publicly funded healthcare. Free treatment is based on residence in the UK, not on nationality or on the payment of UK taxes or National Insurance contributions.


Anyone who is ordinarily resident in the UK is entitled to free NHS primary care from a local family doctor, also known as a general practitioner (GP), although you need to register with a GP prior to requiring any treatment. Emergency treatment is free regardless of residential status.


Dentists and opticians can decide whether to accept patients on an NHS or private fee-paying basis. NHS dental treatment does incur certain charges, but these are lower than for private treatment.

Registering with a GP or Dentist

You will find lists of GPs and dentists in the telephone directory and at public libraries. If you are accepted as an NHS patient you will need to fill out a simple form. Doctors and dentists are entitled to refuse anyone, even UK citizens. If a GP will not accept you – possibly because his or her list is full – the local health authority will help you to find a doctor in your area.

NHS Direct

If you need health advice outside your doctor’s normal surgery hours, you can telephone NHS Direct on 0845 4647. You can also obtain information and advice about the most common illnesses and a range of treatments from NHS Direct Online, at:

NHS Walk-In Centers

These offer convenient access, without appointments, to a range of NHS services, including free
consultations, treatment of minor injuries and illnesses, health information and advice on self-treatment.

For details of your nearest walk-in center please see


Anyone who ordinarily resides in the UK is entitled to free NHS hospital treatment. This can also apply to other categories of people including those who have come to work in
the UK.
Some NHS hospital services, such as emergency treatment and family planning, are free of charge regardless of status. Except in the case of emergencies, NHS hospital treatment is arranged via a referral from the patient’s GP. You can find more details about entitlement to free NHS services on the NHS Gateway website:


A GP may accept you as a private patient, in which case you will have to pay for consultations.
If you wish to see a specialist consultant on a private, fee-paying basis, you can arrange this through your doctor or direct with the consultant’s office.
You can obtain more information about private healthcare and private health insurance schemes at

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