How Healthcare Works in the UK

It will be incomplete to explain the UK healthcare system without talking about the history of the National Health Scheme. The NHS was launched in July 1948, it the first health care funded by general taxation, which provides free care at the point of use.

Health care as a right is fully recognized meaning that free care is granted on the basis of need rather than the payment of fees or insurance. If you are moving to the UK, you are entitled to free healthcare via the NHS. The waiting list is long, though the standard of the medical facility is good and your choices might be limited.

UK health insurance

UK Healthcare Facts

Despite being the target of criticism due to its long waiting times and increasing staff and supplies shortages. The Commonwealth Fund health think-tank carried out an analysis of healthcare systems in 11 rich nations. It was found that the NHS is the safest, best and most affordable. If you are resident in the UK, you are entitled to receive NHS care, you can opt out of the NHS care to pay for private health care or use a combination of both.

Your main contact for health related matters as an NHS patient will be your GP (General Practitioner). Appointments with your GP are usually short, they last between 8-10 minutes. You will be refer to a specialist if you require more specific care by your GP

 What Services Does the NHS Provide?

As long as you are ordinarily living in the UK, the NHS is comprehensive. You are entitled to the following free services:

  1. Consultation with hour GP and nurse;
  2. Accident and emergency treatment (A&E)
  3. Minor injuries treatments in clinics
  4. Maternity services
  5. Sexual health services and contraception
  6. Treatment with a specialist if you are referred by your GP.
  7. Patients are required to pay for with some exemptions for instance people who have chronic illnesses, cancer sufferers:
  • Dental care
  • Prescription
  • Eye care
  • Wigs and fabric supports.

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UK Healthcare Costs

Though prescription are paid, their prices are fixed regardless of the type of education or the quantity you require per treatment. 9 GBP per item is the current prescription charge which is an equivalent of $11.50. In the UK, pharmacies are commonly called chemists.  Boot is the major chain, though many supermarkets have them in their premises.  Online alternatives are also available such as Lloyds Pharmacy and Chemist Direct.

Everyone who is a resident in the UK is entitled to hospital treatment. However, you must be referred by your GP or a qualified healthcare professional if it isn’t an emergency. Emergency services are free of charge for everyone, including non-residents. However, non-residents will have to present relevant health insurance to access non-urgent free hospital care (primary care) in NHS hospitals in the UK.

You will be able to book consultation for free once you are registered with a GP. It is unusual to get a same day appointment.

In three different ways, you can book or change an appointment:

  • Online
  • Via phone
  • In person (you can directly schedule an appointment reception) 

What Does UK Health Insurance Cover?

Health Insurance: What is Covered?

Different benefits are offered by different health insurance. Think about your needs, and choose a policy that offers the right cover for you.

Most policies include cover for:

Private hospital treatment

Access to Bupa Blue Health

Physiotherapy for muscle, bone, or joint conditions

Out-patient care such as scans, teats, X-rays, and hospital appointments where you aren’t admitted.

If you are considering the best health insurance policies, you will need to think about what is important to you. For instance, additional benefits are attached to a more comprehensive policy, such as

  • Mental health cover
  • Cash benefit by NHS hospital
  • Accommodation parent

When health insurance is compared, you might need to consider the needs of family members too. If you insure your family, some providers offer discounts.

Questions to ask when comparing health insurance coverage.

  1. How fast can you be seen by a private consultant?
  2. Will you be required to see your GP first?
  3. Is access to a GP offered by the insurance provider and will the GP refer you if you need specialist help?
  4. For each year, are there limits to the amount of coverage you can claim
  5. Are ongoing treatments for mental health issues offered by the insurance provider?
  6. If you insure your family, will you get a discount on coverage?

UK health insurance

What’s excluded?

Health insurance considered the best will make it really clear what is and is not included in your cover.

It is important to note that most policies won’t cover:

  • Emergency treatment
  • Treatment for pre-existing conditions
  • Maternity care
  • Treatment for long term, or chronic conditions like diabetes, hypertension, and diabetes.

An Overview of Private Health Insurance

It may be a decision you have to take that the right course of action is to take out health insurance or supplement public care with a private policy.

How Does Health Insurance Work?

Health insurance is not offered as part of your employee benefits package, and you can afford it, and if you intend to choose the level of care you want, how and when it is provided then you might want to consider it. As a general norm, there are much shorter waiting lists and better infrastructure in private hospitals and specialist clinics, but cost can be rather high.

Do you Need Health Insurance in the UK?

You don’t need private medical insurance if you are relocating to the UK unless you have a specific reason to not use the NHS. It can be quite expensive if you decide to get treated privately but don’t have private insurance. This could leave you with so many medical bills. This factors should be considered by you before you decide whether or not to take out private medical insurance

For UK residents, only one of the following reason could warrant a private insurance:

  • It is provided as part of an employment package by the company.
  • They want to avoid waiting times
  • They intend to have more control over the medical treatments they receive.