The UK is famous for the NHS and with it providing accessible and excellent healthcare services to those living in the country. Some migrants may have to pay a levy when relocating which still provides excellent value for those times when you require those services.
The NHS has walk in treatment centres for emergencies as well as GP surgeries which you will need to register with when you move to a new location. As good as the NHS is getting an appointment with a GP can cause frustration at times.
The NHS provides FREE heallthcare.
Make sure if you need to visit a dentist they are part of the NHS as treatment costs are capped. You will need to register with a dentist locally. The cost of visiting a non NHS dentist is likely to be significantly more expensive for effectively the same service.
Doctors always bury their mistakes! Terrible joke but if you seriously looking for a healthcare service you can trust the CQC website (the body that oversees standards of healthcare in the country is the place to look. Check out local healthcare services to find the best service for yourself.
The cost of a prescription is £9 in England and Free in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. Prescriptions are also free if you are pregnant or had a baby in the last 12 months, under 16 or over 60, have a valid medical exemption certificate for a long term illness (e.g Epilepsy) or are receiving benefits.
Require numerous/regular prescriptions? Look into getting a prescription prepayment certificate. This can save you up to £325 a year if requiring 4 prescriptions regularly.
Prescriptions are not always cheapest: Sometimes you will be prescribed a medicine which can be bought over the counter for less than £9, so in this case that is the better to buy over the counter than use the prescription as that will save you money.
Generic Version vs Branded Version: Generic drugs can be significantly cheaper than their branded version. The PL number will indicate the drug and if it matches it is exactly the same. Ask your pharmacist if their is a cheaper generic version of the drug?
Checking the PL number can save you money: A drug may have different uses but be the same drug but the pharmacist may charge differently for the same drug e.g. "Anadin Ultra" and "Anadin Period Pain". If the PL number is the same on both buy the cheaper and their prices vary buy the cheaper drug!
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Many companies now do free eye tests e.g Specsavers, Boots Opticians etc. Never pay to get your eyes tested. Once tested don't be obliged to buy the correct glass prescription from the seller, hunt around. Contact lenses can be significantly cheaper if bought online. (Lenstore, Contactlenses) Check the General Optical Council Register that the online business is legitimate.
The NHS does provide a great service and to take out private healthcare insurance can be an expensive exercise and should be considered a luxury, so this is a decision you need to judge for yourself. The benefit of taking out healthcare insurance is that some policies will give you access to exclusive drugs, with some medical conditions access to faster treatment (which can save you money if it means you can return to your profession faster) and also more appealing healthcare accommodation and services if privately insured.
If you do look at taking out private health insurance this is what you need to consider
- Use comparison websites such as Compare the Market or Confused to get a benchmark on pricing. It can also be worth contacting a broker to provide specialist advice and get quotes. The AMII is a great place to source a potential broker
- Be aware of what the medical insurance covers and doesn't cover (Pre existing conditions are unlikely to be covered)
- Healthcare premiums will go up annually....provided you dont have any pre existing conditions be prepared to shop around and change providers to save money at renewal time.
- You can save money on your premium by paying an excess but this is also an individual call of what you are prepared to pay.
- You can save money with a pick and mix type policy where you start with a basic level insurance and add what you need/want.
- Some insurers will charge less if you can demonstrate a healthy lifestyle.
Make sure you do your due diligence when looking at insurance providers but feel comfort knowing the NHS really is excellent so if you decide not to take up medical insurance you will have access to a good level of healthcare.