Healthcare Whilst Travelling in the UK
While you are travelling in the UK, you may be entitled to medical care at reduced cost or sometimes even free of charge. What you are entitled to depends very much on your country of origin. If you normally live (legally) in an European Economic Area country (EEA), you will be covered by an EHIC (free European Health Insurance Card) should any medical emergencies arise for which you require treatment. EHIC does not cover all treatments. For example, prescription charges apply for medication you need while continuing your stay in Britain.
Here are a few things that you need to know about healthcare whilst travelling in the UK;
Where you’re from
If you are planning to travel to the UK from an EEA country, you should apply for EHIC. You must present your health insurance card to a nurse or doctor at the hospital or doctor’s surgery, before receiving treatment. You can apply for EHIC cover for free via this link.
Some countries have bilateral healthcare agreements with the UK, which means even though your country of origin is not an EEA country, you can still access emergency treatment at a reduced cost or for free. Look up if your country is covered.
How to access NHS Emergency Healthcare
EHIC will cover you for emergency treatment – medical treatment that will enable you to continue your travels in the UK until your planned return home. You are also covered for treatment of pre-existing medical conditions – for example heart problems or an ulcer – and for routine maternity care. However, you are not entitled to come to the UK purely for the purpose of giving birth at a NHS hospital.
When a medical emergency occurs during your European visit, call 112. This is a universally accepted emergency number in all EU/EEA member states that allows you to reach emergency services such as an ambulance or the police – the service is entirely free of charge from any telephone or mobile. Only call 999 or go to Accident & Emergency at a UK hospital if you have a genuine emergency that is potentially life threatening.
Dental Work and other Charges
You will have to pay for most dental work. Although most dental work has to be paid for even by UK residents, some emergency dentistry is covered by your EHIC, an infection or painful wisdom tooth for example. What is and what isn’t covered will be sent to you in a leaflet together with your EHIC after you apply for your card.
You can find and make an appointment with an emergency dentist in London or anywhere in the UK through toothpick.com. You can make appointments with more than 3,500 dentists at ToothPick for example, where you can search by area and by the type of dental work you think you require.
One last point – you should have travel insurance as well as your EHIC to ensure full coverage for your visit.