The National Health Service (NHS)

All visitors to the UK are entitled to some treatment from the NHS.  The dependant of an international member of staff (that is the husband, wife or children aged up to 16, or up to 19 if in full time education) is entitled to free treatment on the NHS provided:

  • They have a passport stamp which confirms they are in the UK as the dependant of that member of international staff.
  • They arrived in the UK at the same time as, or shortly after, the member of staff.
  • The UK is their main home.

Further information can be found on the NHS Choices website


When you arrive in the UK you will have to register with a General Practitioner (GP). Do this as soon as you can – don’t wait till you are ill. The NHS Choices website will give you a list of GPs in your area.   It is best to contact the GP surgery first to ensure they are excepting new patients and that it covers the area where you live. Once registered you will receive a personal NHS number.  You need to keep this number safe as you may be asked for it when you visit the GP, dentist or hospital.

While visits to your GP are free, you may have to pay for any medicines that are prescribed.  As of April 2013 the current prescription charge is £7.85.  There are exemptions; visit the NHS Choices website for more information.  

Emergency services

If you need emergency medical help, dial 999 and ask for an ambulance.  The call will be free.  You can also visit the accident and emergency department (A & E) of any hospital or a NHS walk-in centre.  These services are free to everyone in the first instance.  However, if you are required to stay in hospital and you are not covered by the NHS you will be charged. 


There is no need to register with a dentist. You can find a dental practice that's convenient for you, whether it's near your home or work.  You can find a dentist via the NHS Choices website.  It is best to phone the dentist to see if they offer NHS treatment.  You will be required to pay when you visit the dentist. A full list of charges can found on the NHS Choices website.


You don’t have to register with an optician. Simply find an optician close to you and phone to make an appointment.  Visit the NHS Choices website to find your nearest optician. You will have to pay for an eye test and for any glasses that are prescribed.  Cost will vary, however some people are entitled to a free NHS eye test and can get help towards the cost of glasses. Find out more on the NHS Choices website.

Private Health Insurance

You can always take out private health insurance when you arrive in the UK or take out insurance in your home country before arriving in the UK.  The University of Liverpool has a private health scheme offered via Benefits Plus.