United Kingdom

In emergencies call 112 or 999 to obtain help. Information about using health services in non-emergency cases is available by calling the United Kingdom´s National Health Service (NHS) service number 111.


Sudden illness

By presenting your European Health Insurance Card, you can obtain treatment in the mainly free treatment facilities of the NHS. More information is available on the NHS website, where you can find the contact information, by region, of NHS-contracted doctors, dentists and hospitals.

Be aware that you are not, however, entitled to treatment by presenting a European Health Insurance Card in the Isle of Man or the so-called Channel Islands, i.e. Guernsey (including Guernsey, Alderney, Herm and Sark) or in Jersey, as the islands in question are British Crown Dependencies and do not fall within the sphere of EU or EEA regulations. The following overseas territories also do not belong to the European Union: Anguilla, British Virgin Islands, Montserrat, Turks and Caicos Islands, Cayman Islands, Falkland Islands, South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands.

Doctor

See a general practitioner (GP) who has an agreement with the NHS. When you show your European Health Insurance Card and ID at the appointment, treatment is free of charge. To see a specialist you usually need to have a GP´s referral.

In the case of relatively minor injuries, you can also visit a walk-in centre in larger towns. These will treat you without an appointment free of charge.

You can also call NHS 111 at any time for help in issues relating to health and illnesses. You will be directed to the closest surgery that is open, where you receive the requisite care for your illnesses or injury.

Dentist

If you need dental care, go to a dentist contracted to the NHS. When booking an appointment you should mention that you want treatment as an NHS patient. Show your European Health Insurance Card and ID at the appointment. There are three charge bands for NHS patients. In most circumstances, the charge is £ 19 or £ 51. For more demanding treatment the cost is £ 223. Treatment is free for certain categories of people, such those who are under 18, those receiving full-time education, pregnant or have had a baby in the previous 12 months. If you receive treatment free of charge, tick the appropriate box on the form to be filled out at the surgery.

Medicines

In the case of minor illness nurses, in addition to doctors are allowed to prescribe medicines. When you go to a pharmacy to collect your prescription medicines, present your European Health Insurance Card and ID. You will then have to pay a prescription charge of £ 8.20. If you need more than three prescribed items in three months, you can buy a £ 29,10 prepayment certificate (PPC) at a pharmacy. Exemptions to charges are granted for those who are under 16, between 16 and 18 and in full-time education, 60 or over, or who have a chronic disease.

Pregnant women or mothers of babies less than 12 months old and who have a valid maternity exemption certificate are also entitled to medicines free of charge. You can ask the doctor about possible exemption from prescription charges during your appointment. If you are granted exemption, tick the appropriate box on the back of the prescription at the pharmacy.

Hospital care

In general, you can access hospital treatment if referred by a doctor, a dentist or an optician. In emergencies, you can go directly to the hospital´s Accident & Emergency department. Not all hospitals have one. When you go to a hospital, show your European Health Insurance Card and ID to obtain treatment and medicines free of charge. You can usually choose the hospital, provided that the unit is contracted to the NHS.

In emergencies, ambulance transport to the hospital is free. If, on account of your state of health, you require special transport to return to Finland, you must pay the costs in full yourself.

If you have to pay all costs yourself

If you have to pay the full price for treatment at a local public healthcare unit for which you would have been entitled to reimbursement with a European Health Insurance Card, you can apply for reimbursement retrospectively. You can apply for reimbursement either from the health insurance institution of the destination country or from Kela on form SV 128.

Seeking treatment

You can search for a healthcare service provider operating in England through the NHS service finder. You can set service- and location-specific criteria for your search. Many service providers have provided information regarding acceptance of patients. For example, some private facilities only accept patients under the age of 18. Users of the service finder have also been able to rate their level of satisfaction with a service provider.

Healthcare service providers operating within the NHS system as well as private sector providers in Scotland are listed on NHS Scotland´s website.

You can search for healthcare providers operating within the NHS system in Wales on NHS Wales' website.

The British Dental Association´s website provides a Find-a-dentist service where you can search for a dentist.

You can search for private physicians, dentists, hospitals and other healthcare providers in the UK on the Private Healthcare UK website. Information about private physicians can also be found on the Specialist Info search service. Relatively few GPs operate in the private sector.

Guidelines, links to search services for healthcare providers such as physiotherapists, opticians and chiropractors are available on the Patient.co.uk website.

Treatment-related practices

In England, you need a GP´s referral to see an NHS-contracted specialist such as a surgeon or a gynaecologist, or to be admitted for hospital treatment. The same practice applies as a general rule also in Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland. A GP´s referral is not required only in the case of physiotherapy, health checks, cosmetic surgery, dental care and treatment at sexual health clinics and hospital emergency departments.

If you want to see a private specialist in the United Kingdom who is not contracted to the NHS, it is still recommended that you request a referral from a GP. You should check with the specialist in advance. Be aware that the majority of GPs are contracted to the NHS, and there are relatively few private GP services.

Costs of treatment

Indicative information about the tariffs of healthcare providers operating within the NHS system in England is available on the Gov.uk website. Information about tariffs is updated annually.

You can also view information about costs and payment practices by region by visiting the UK´s citizens advice service Adviceguide.

Information about the costs of private healthcare can be viewed on the website Private Healthcare UK.

Quality and safety of treatment

In England, the quality of treatment is monitored by the Care Quality Commission, which monitors and inspects the quality and safety of care given by all healthcare service providers operating in the region. The Committee ensures that doctors, dentists, care homes and other care providers meet the national standards for quality. You can read more about standards on the Care Quality Commission‘s website. The site also provides regularly updated quality data and reports on all healthcare service providers.

Treatment provided in Northern Ireland is monitored by the Regulation and Quality Improvement Authority (RQIA). RQIA regularly inspects and reviews health and social care providers operating in the region.