Accessing the NHS as an immigrant
The National Health Service (NHS) is the national provider of medical services in the United Kingdom. It is funded by the Government through taxation and it is free for British citizens. The NHS provides a complete medical care package and covers most types of treatments. It also subsidises the costs of medicine to ensure that the best medications are available to everyone.
In some circumstances visitors or immigrants to the UK can also be entitled to use the NHS services for free. However; the level of free service to which a visitor or immigrant is entitled depends on the individual’s immigration status.
The NHS services which are free for all overseas nationals in the UK, irrespective of their immigration status include the following:
- Emergency hospital treatment in an Accident and Emergency (A&E) department (only the emergency treatment is free, additional care and treatment is not included)
- Urgent GP services including consultations in primary care and treatment provided at a GP practice
- Diagnosis and treatment of some infectious diseases, such as Covid-19
- Family planning services and maternity care
- Compulsory psychiatric treatment
- Treatment of victims of torture, female genital mutilation (FGM), domestic violence, or sexual violence
Separate from the above list are what is called, secondary care services. These are not free for visitors or immigrants to the UK except in certain circumstances. To be eligible for these free services immigrants must qualify by falling a relevant category.
These categories include the following:
Settled or Pre-Settled EU Citizen