UK Medical Services Travellers Tips


The National Health Service (NHS) in the UK offers medical treatment to those that meet the qualifying criteria, this includes those that are ordinarily resident in the UK. Some limited treatment is free to all visitors such as treatment given in Accident & Emergency departments (A&E), there are however many factors and criteria that are assessed to check whether someone is entitled to other treatment on the NHS. It is very important for visitors to the UK to ensure they arrive with adequate private medical insurance. Not only does this give you peace of mind, it ensures you receive medical treatment when you need it most and lessens the chances of having to pay expensive medical costs. The UK medical services travellers tips guide highlights useful advice on UK medical services travellers should be aware of.

Travellers Tips - UK Medical Services

Before You Begin Your Trip
Visitors From The EEA
UK Pharmacies
Other Tips & Considerations

Before You Begin Your Trip

Visitors to the UK are advised to ensure you take out adequate medical insurance before travelling to the UK. Check with your travel agent/tour provider, medical insurance company that the insurance taken out offers adequate cover for your needs. It is wise to ensure the medical insurance is valid for the full duration of your stay in the UK and for some time after in case you are delayed in returning for any reason.

Once the medical insurance has been taken out ensure you carry the correct documents and paperwork with you, including the policy documents, contact numbers, emergency help etc. Ensure you photocopy the important documents and keep a copy with you in case anything happens to the originals.

Bring your doctors letter stating the medication you are taking, the dosage and any other pertinent notes, for any medication you are on. This will help if you need to get any medication.

If you are bringing in any medication in to the UK, check that it is legal & licensed for use. Different countries have different rules and regulations on which medications and drugs are licensed for use and which are not. It is possible that some medications in countries outside the UK licence medications that are not licensed in the UK or deemed illegal. It is wise to check first before you begin your trip to the UK to ensure you do not fall foul of any regulations.

Visitors From The EEA

Visiting nationals to the UK from the European Economic Area (EEA) carrying the European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) are entitled to health care provided by the NHS on much the same terms as the local nationals of the UK. This service makes it worthwhile for nationals of the EEA to ensure they get a valid EHIC and remember to carry it with them when visiting the UK. It is important to carry a valid EHIC card wherever you go to prove you have the card and are entitled to treatment should you require it.

Visitors from the EEA should note that the EHIC should not be regarded as a replacement for adequate private medical insurance when visiting the UK. It is strongly recommended visitors ensure they take out adequate medical insurance in addition to bringing a valid EHIC to the UK. The EHIC does not cover all possible medical costs and eventualities including:

Your Total Medical Costs

Private Treatment (is usually not covered)

Repatriation Costs to your home country

Any Lost or Stolen Property

UK Pharmacies

In the UK medications obtained via prescription and those available without the need for prescriptions (over-the-counter) are available from pharmacies. Pharmacies are also referred to as chemists offer medications and expert advice from pharmacists.

The opening hours of pharmacies are usually from 09:00 to 18:00 Monday to Friday. On Saturdays pharmacies tend to be open half days from 09:00 to 12.30/13:00. Some pharmacies are closed on Sundays whilst others have some limited opening hours. Should visitors need the services of a pharmacy outside of normal opening hours, there are some pharmacies that are open for longer hours both during the week and at the weekend on Saturdays and limited availability on Sundays. For more information on locating pharmacies and other medical services throughout the UK, please see: Medical Services Search

Other Tips & Considerations

Generally the tap water is safe for drinking, however if you have any reservations or prefer bottled water, it is widely available in many shops and restaurants.

Follow the usual food hygiene standards and precautions when visiting the UK, wash you hands before preparing food & eating, stick to hot properly cooked food and beware of food that has been kept warm.

When eating look for places with good food hygiene, if you have doubts, reservations or a delicate stomach be careful in your choice and do not over indulge.

The UK medical services travellers tips guide is intended to inform visitors to the UK of medical services available and some useful travellers tips you may wish to consider.

Please note: our guide is intended as a general guide only, it is highly recommended you check with the relevant medical providers/insurers on any specify issues affecting yourself & your family. Having good awareness of how medical services operates can help to ensure travellers are better informed on what to do, where to go and where to check for any medical related issues they may face whilst visiting the UK.

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