You’ve moved to the UK to live, the visa sticker is still fresh in your passport and you know the guide book back to front. The travel bug and lure of living abroad has firmly taken hold and the life of a traveller is born. But what if another sort of bug bites, one that requires you to see a doctor in the UK. Are you ready for that?
I’ll admit when I first arrived in London the last thing I was thinking about was finding a Doctor. I was more concerned with finding a job, a place to live and learning how the tube works. It wasn’t until I got sick that I realised I had no idea where to find the nearest doctor.
The health system here is run by the NHS (National Health Service) and works in much the same was as the system does back home in Australia with many services provided for free. Only they cover more of the costs meaning you’ll have extra travel money in your pocket even if you need to see a doctor.
To see a doctor in the UK you first need to register with them so no turning up at the door sick and expecting help like back home as you may not get it. The process is very simple and something I recommend people do as soon as they get settled. You never know when you will need one after all.
So whats the process then?
- Find A doctor near you. The NHS have a great site for that
- Attend the practice and register or look them up online and register that way if possible
- Approximately 2-3 weeks later you’ll get a form in the mail. Keep it and don’t lose it, you’ll need it to attend your doctor
Now as for the costs, well to see a doctor it won’t cost you a penny. No consultation fee just walk in see the doctor and leave (don’t forget to make an appointment). My first time I was like what it’s all free oh and you don’t even need me to sign anything well that’s just perfect. Other services like the Dentist, Optometrist etc will have additional costs but still have some offset from the NHS.
Should you need a prescription the NHS have also put a cap on the price of most medicines as well, just £7.65. Not a bad price to pay to see a doctor and get medicine to fix you up huh?
We all hate going to the doctor but overall it’s a very simple process that can save you a lot of headaches later on down the road if you’re not feeling to well. If you’ve had other experiences with doctors in the UK as an expat leave a message in the comments, it may just help a fellow traveller out.