Health care in the United Kingdom
Most of the health care services in the United Kingdom are provided by the National Health Service (NHS), the state-funded healthcare system in the United Kingdom. Most of these services are free for health-insured persons. Citizens of the European Economic Area holding a European Health Card are entitled to free medical examinations and emergency treatment.
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For preventive examinations and no urgent medical examinations, you need to be pre-registered with one. Typically, the GP visit takes place at a preset time.
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In case you or your guests from abroad have to be examined by a doctor without being registered with a GP, you can visit a local Walk-in NHS center. You do not need to have a preset time. Just log in and sign up at the reception desk in the waiting list and a doctor examines the patients in the order they arrive at the clinic.
If you need health advice on a day off or off-time, you can call 111 at any time of the day.
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In an emergency, call 999 or 112. You can also go to the nearest emergency room.
To be able to use dental services at the National Health Service (NHS), you must be registered with a personal dentist.
Dentistry is one of the few NHS services to be paid. All the treatment that your dentist considers necessary to achieve and maintain good oral health is available from the NHS. This means that the NHS provides every treatment that you need to keep your mouth, your teeth and gums healthy and painless.
Depending on what needs to be done, you will have to pay only one fee for each full course of treatment, even if you have to visit your dentist more than once to complete the treatment. You will not be charged for individual products within the treatment course.
There are three standard fees (categories) for all dental treatments to the NHS:
Category 1 – £ 18.00
This includes checking, diagnosis (including X-rays), tips on how to prevent future problems, tartar cleaning and polishing if necessary, and applying fluoride varnish or crack sealant.
Category 2 – £ 49.00
This covers everything listed in Category 1 above, plus any other treatment such as seals (amalgams), treatment and root processing or tooth extraction.
Category 3 – £ 214.00
This covers everything listed in categories 1 and 2 above, plus the preparation and installation of crowns (metallic), dentures and bridges.
Who is the subject of free dentistry to the NHS?
You do not have to pay for NHS dental treatment if, when you start treatment, you are:
Under the age of 18 years
Under 19 and attend regular school
Pregnant or have had a baby in the last 12 months
Accommodated in the NHS hospital and treatment is done by a hospital dentist
Use an outpatient service at the NHS Dental Hospital (however, you may have to pay for dentures or bridges)
You do not have to pay if, during the course of treatment, you or your partner receive:
- Income Support
- Income-related Employment and Support Allowance
- Income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance
- Pension Credit guarantee credit
- Universal Credit
- Your name appears or you are eligible for a valid NHS exemption certificate
- Your name appears on the HC2 certificate
- Urgent dentistry
- If you need urgent assistance, even if your emergency treatment requires more than one hour with the same dentist to complete, you will only need to pay the Category 1 fee. Read more detailed information on dental emergencies.
- You may receive free NHS dental treatment if you meet certain criteria (see above).
Eye examinations and treatment
Some patient groups are entitled to free eye examinations at the NHS and optical vouchers for help with the cost of glasses or contact lenses. Patients who do not qualify for eye examinations at the NHS will have to pay for a private examination.
You qualify for a free eye-to-eye review of the NHS if you are:
Aged under 16 or under the age of 19 and in full-time education
Aged 60 or over
Registered blind or partially blind
Diagnosed with diabetes or glaucoma
At the age of 40 or over and you are a parent, brother, sister, son or daughter of a person diagnosed with glaucoma, or have been told by an ophthalmologist that you are at risk of glaucoma
Rated for an NHS voucher for special contact lenses