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London - Healthcare and Medical Treatment

The UK National Health Service ( is recognised as one of the leading health services in the world. It provides free medical care to British nationals and visitors from EU countries, Australia and New Zealand. All other non-British residents must pay for medical and hospital treatment unless your employer provides sufficient medical insurance. Free NHS treatment is available to all UK residents of over 12 months who are registered with a local doctor.

If you are unsure whether you qualify or not, visit The Department Of Health website ( which provides detailed rules, procedures and documentation on access to hospital and general health care, exemptions, and NHS charges for people looking to work in the United Kingdom.

Before you arrive in the UK, you should have a thorough medical check-up. If you have anything that requires medical attention and cannot be treated before leaving your own country, check to make sure that the ailment can be cared for in the UK. It is recommended that all visitors and new residents take out extra insurance before arriving in the event of an emergency, or if you need to be flown home. The cost to fly patients, doctors, nurses and equipment from one country to another has been know to reach hundreds of thousands of dollars.

In the UK, local General Practitioners (GP's) provide advice on health issues, examinations, treatments, prescriptions, vaccinations and referrals to specialists. You will need to book an appointment and register with a GP to receive free NHS treatment. If the condition is not urgent, you may have to wait 2 -3 days before a doctor can see you.

The Local Doctor ( section of the NHS website allows you to search for doctors by nearest location, name, or opening times. If local GP's are unable to add you to their register, the nearest Primary Care Trust ( will find you an alternative. If you move and need to change doctors, you must ask your GP to transfer you.

The NHS website also provides information on other health care services such as dentistry, optometry, pharmacies, hospitals and social care services, and allows you to search for those nearest your home.

There are many public and private hospitals in and around London. Some offer specialist surgeons, but not all have a dedicated Emergency service. All hospitals with an emergency service will accept you without an NHS number. Patients are treated in order of urgency. Information on UK hospitals and links to their websites can be found at Healthcare specialists recently carried out research for The Times newspaper to determine the state of hospitals in the country, revealing the best and worst performers. The article is available on their website (,,2-1918837,00.html)

Pharmacies, or chemists as they are sometimes known in the UK, can be found all over London. Independent operators are fast disappearing, whilst chain outlets such as Boots and Superdrug, selling a range of beauty and gift products alongside health and medical needs, are located in most neighbourhood shopping areas. Locations of pharmacies, including those open late, are found on the NHS website (

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