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Understanding The British Medical Health Care System

June 15, 2020
After Brexit, the laws in the United Kingdom have become more complex and difficult to understand from the outside. For years, the kingdom's laws were in-tuned with those of the EU's. But now that they've detached themselves from the Union, it's unclear whether certain liberties stay in place. This is particularly important for the UK's healthcare system. And what of people from outside the European continent? How will they be able to access the system? Will they get the same treatment as British citizens? As EU citizens? Well, this post will explain the basics of the UK's healthcare law for everyone to understand!

Understanding The British Medical Health Care System

 

Different Healthcare Policies Among Countries in The UK

First thing's first, the UK is made up of four distinct countries: England, Wales, Scotland, and Northern Ireland. And although they all share within the same healthcare system, each country has its own way of doing things. The differences between each other are very much distinct from the get-go, according to The Health Foundation. For instance, England's healthcare system has is a quasi-market, while in Scotland, it's not. Prescriptions in Wales and Northern Ireland are free, while in England, they're paid for. Such differences may seem small at first, but when you're actually already staying in any of these countries, you'll realize that they're very much important! 

 

The One Criterion for the NHS 

If there's one similarity all of these countries share is that they're all under the NHS, of the National Health Service. This is the kingdom's healthcare system, all with distinct differences and more. And in order to gain access to it, you'll need to meet just one criterion: be a resident. Contrary to popular belief, the NHS isn't as strict and exclusive as it may seem from the outside (particularly after Brexit). No matter your race, country of origin, social standing, income-level, and more, as long as you're a resident of the UK, you can avail of the many services and healthcare providers of the system. 

 

Understanding The British Medical Health Care System

 

Are You an 'Ordinarily Resident?'

Relatively, when you're regarded as an "Ordinarily Resident," it means you meet the criterion of gaining access to the NHS. But what exactly is an "Ordinarily Resident" and how do you become one? Simply put, "Ordinarily Residents" are those who are granted permission to stay in the UK indefinitely. More often than not, such permissions are granted through employment from companies originating in any of the four nations of the UK. The first step to becoming one is having to pay the Immigration Health Service Surcharge (IHS) during your first few years in the kingdom. This is simultanenously done with your visa application as well. 


 

Europe Health Insurance Card (EHIC)

It's pretty clear when the referendum happened in 2016 that Brexit would severe many ties between the UK and the EU. However, one that wasn't necessarily part of that was access to the NHS. Today, many EU citizens traveling to the UK can still avail of the service as long as they have their EHIC or European Health Insurance Card. This document allows them to pay absolutely nothing as if they were actually residents of the nations themselves. With that said, however, after Brexit, EU residents are required to still avail travel insurance on top of using their EHIC’s. 


 

Understanding The British Medical Health Care System

 

Emergency Healthcare Services 

Still, as with any other country, the NHS's Emergency Healthcare services are granted to those in need of it, regardless of residency or not. This means even if you're just a visitor in the UK, you can still gain access to the emergency healthcare service. This includes paramedics, ambulance services, and certain healthcare providers with specific specialties. However, this is basically it. If you're not a UK resident nor an EU citizen, you can't gain access to further channels of the NHS beyond that. You'll need to have been able to get your own travel insurance when coming here in order to move forward. 

 

Travel and Private Insurance for Visitors

So if you're just in the UK for a visit, you might not be eligible to gain access to the NHS. That is if you didn't get travel insurance before leaving your home country. No matter where you are in the world, as long as you have travel insurance, this can often give you a little bit of access to your destination's healthcare system. It's not much, but it can do for a variety of situations, particularly for accidents. Additionally, private insurance providers can also added to your access whether your a resident or not. 

 

Understanding The British Medical Health Care System

 

When staying in the UK, their healthcare system, also known as the National Health Service, can give you all sorts of services and access to healthcare providers free of charge. However, you have to meet certain requirements in order to gain such access! 


If you're going to be a resident in the UK, particularly in England, you'd want to stay at a great accommodation. Fortunately, the country's luxurious apartments are all on offer for those who wish to stay and even become residents of the UK!




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