Getting medical treatment while visiting the UK

medical treatment in uk

Is there anything worse than getting sick while on holiday, or a business trip to London? On top of a fever or a sprained ankle, you’re in an unfamiliar place and might be confused about getting medical treatment in the UK. Here’s our guide for where to go and who to contact if you need medical treatment while visiting.  

Is it an emergency?

In the UK, anyone can receive free emergency medical treatment, up to a hospital admission. On admission you may then need to pay for treatment or not, depending on whether you’re from the EEA or Switzerland, or outside the European Economic Area, and whether you’ve paid the health surcharge when applying for a visa. As we said, getting initial medical treatment in the UK while visiting, in an emergency, will be free.  

In any case, if you’ve suffered a life-threatening injury or need urgent emergency treatment – call 999 or go to your nearest Accident and Emergency and you’ll be seen and treated there.

Visit an urgent care centre

Have you hurt yourself, or have a medical problem that needs urgent treatment, but isn’t an emergency? Getting medical treatment in the UK while visiting could be provided at an NHS urgent care centre where you’ll be treated for free. You’ll still have to pay for any prescriptions.

You don’t need to book an appointment but that does mean you may have to wait a while for treatment. Staff can provide you with prescriptions, advice and other treatment. It might be easier than registering with a GP surgery, but be prepared to wait.   

How are you feeling?

If you’ve come down with something and feel unwell, but you’re not quite sure what’s wrong, there are a couple of services you can contact first to find out the best course of treatment.

Call 111

111 is a free NHS number that’s available 24/7 for you to find out whether your symptoms are something more serious, or if there are simple things you can do to get yourself better. Phone lines are operated by trained advisors who will talk you through your symptoms and then advise on the best course of treatment.

They might put you through to an out of hours doctor, or if they think you need urgent treatment, they’ll put you through to 999 or tell you to go to your nearest A&E.

Find your local GP

If you’re in the UK for less than 30 days, you can sign on as a temporary patient with your local doctors surgery who will treat minor illnesses and injuries for free. Legally GPs are obliged to register you unless they have a reasonable excuse not to, such as not having enough staff to take on new patients. Even if they can’t register you, you can still get emergency medical treatment for up to 14 days.  

Get seen by a Qured doctor

If you’re only here for a short time, it might not seem worth it to find a GP and go through the process of registering. A lot of GPs are over-subscribed and so you may have to wait a couple of weeks for an appointment. It might also be inconvenient to go out to visit the surgery and sign on in an unfamiliar city, when you or your children are feeling ill or in pain.

Getting medical treatment in the UK while visiting, with a Qured doctor, is much quicker than registering with a GP, and you can be seen in the comfort of your own home, hotel room or conference centre. Download the Qured app and register, and we can send a doctor to wherever you are in Greater London, within two hours.

The doctor will be able to examine you and advise you on the best treatment; they can also provide subscriptions if you need medicine. And you can have those medicines delivered to your door. If they need to, our doctors can also refer you for further treatment, either within the NHS or private healthcare.    

Need physiotherapy?

On the NHS, you can be treated by a physiotherapist by referral from your GP or while in hospital, and you may be charged for this treatment while visiting. Treatment usually takes place in a clinic, hospital or doctors surgery, although some physiotherapists are able to do home visits.

Qured physiotherapists

If you’re in need of physiotherapy treatment while visiting the UK, our team of physiotherapists may be able to offer the most convenient treatment, without the need to wait for a referral, or for an appointment.  Qualified Qured physios can visit you where you are and give you the treatment you need straight away. Download the Qured app and we can send a physiotherapist to you within two hours.

If you would like to know more about getting medical treatment in the UK while visiting, please call us +44 (0)203 948 1634 or send us a message today.