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General Practitioner (GP) Services The "Family doctor"
 
What am I entitled to on the NHS as an overseas student?

  • The National Health Service is regarded as first and foremost for the benefit of people living in the United Kingdom. Free GP treatment is based on residence in the UK, not on nationality, the payment of UK taxes or National Insurance contributions.
  • A person who is regarded as ordinarily resident in the UK is eligible for free treatment by a GP. A person is ‘ordinarily resident’ for this purpose if lawfully living in the UK for a settled purpose as part of the regular order of his or her life for the time being. Anyone coming to live in this country would qualify as ordinarily resident. It is unlikely that anyone intending to stay for less than 6 months would qualify.

   
Acceptance of patients
 
  • GPs do not have to accept anyone onto their lists for NHS treatment, even UK citizens.
  • GPs have the discretion to offer treatment to all people (UK residents and overseas visitors from any country) as:
    • fully registered - in which case the patient will get free primary medical treatment;
    • a temporary resident - resident in the area for more than 24 hours but not more than 3 months - in which case the patient will again get free primary medical treatment.
  • In addition, of course, GPs may accept patients on a private, paying basis.
  • It is up to the GP to decide whether or not to accept the patient onto his/her list as a NHS patient, and to provide treatment free of charge, or whether to treat the patient on a private, fee- paying basis.
 
What do I have to pay for?
 
  • If a person is accepted as an NHS patient any necessary drugs or dressings which are supplied or prescribed, will be so done in the same way as for a UK resident. Prescription charges will also be made under the same rules as for a UK resident.
  • If a doctor sees someone as a private patient, he/she will have to pay for the consultation.
  • When overseas visitors require emergency or immediately necessary treatment (classed as treatment which cannot be reasonably delayed until the patient returns home) this must be provided free of charge by a GP regardless of whether the patient is registered or not.
  • Pre-existing conditions or illnesses are not usually classed as requiring emergency treatment.
 
How do I go about getting a GP or dentist on the NHS?
 
  • Registering with a GP or dentist is quite simple. GPs and dentists are listed in the phone book or at the public library. Students should visit a surgery near their home or college, and ask if the doctor or dentist will accept them as NHS patients.
  • Doctors and dentists may refuse particularly if their lists are full. The local health authority, also listed in the phone book, will find a doctor in the area if necessary.
 
What documents do I need to bring with me?
 
  • The form to register with a GP or dentist is very simple. It might be helpful to have a letter from the university or college in the UK confirming acceptance on a course of study and stating how long it lasts.
 
Students from EEA countries
 
  • Most other EEA countries, but not the UK, require overseas visitors from other EEA countries to present an E111 form when seeking emergency health care. In the UK, emergency treatment from a GP is free on the NHS and is not dependent upon presentation of an E111.
  • Students from EEA member countries carrying form E112 are eligible for free medical treatment of a specified condition as NHS patients, and if treated on this basis should not be charged a fee by the GP for that treatment.
  • In some cases, patients with E112s may not require hospital treatment. For example, their condition might need routine monitoring by a GP and/or prescription of medication and adjustment of dosage (monitoring associated with prescription of warfarin is a good example). Or routine treatment by injections might be necessary. If the need for this is known in advance, the patient may well be issued with a form E112 by his home country.
  • EEA nationals carrying form E128 are entitled to free NHS treatment for all conditions, on the same basis as UK residents.
  • Nationals from countries with whom the UK has a reciprocal agreement will be treated no differently to visitors from any other country.
 

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