Country: The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, commonly known as the United Kingdom (UK) or Britain, is a sovereign state in Europe. It sits off the northwestern coast of the European mainland. The UK is surrounded by the Atlantic Ocean and the North Sea in the east and the English Channel in the south. The Irish Sea separates Great Britain from Ireland. The population is estimated at 63 million and English is the primary language. London is its capital.
How to access emergency services: Dial 112 or 999
Currency: British pound (GBP)
Recommended immunizations and vaccines for travelers: Before traveling to the United Kingdom ask your doctor what vaccines are recommended. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the World Health Organization (WHO) are excellent resources as well.
Insurance: Find out in advance if your insurance plan will make payments directly to providers or reimburse you later for overseas health expenditures.
It is also worth ensuring your travel insurance will cover ambulances or transport either home or to more advanced medical facilities, if needed. Not all insurance covers emergency medical evacuation home or to a hospital in a major city, which may be the only way to receive medical attention in a serious emergency.
Source: International Association for Medical Assistance to Travelers.
What to expect in a United Kingdom hospital: The National Health Service (NHS) is the main healthcare provider in the UK. Residents of the UK and certain others, have free access to all medical services delivered by the UK NHS. Visitors may have access to some of these services too, but rules put in place to prevent health tourism mean visitors to the UK still need travelers' health insurance and will usually have to pay for medical and dental services.
If you have an accident or need emergency medical treatment, you will receive that treatment free of charge, regardless of your nationality or place of residence as long as that emergency treatment is delivered at:
- A primary care facility or General Practitioner's office, known as a GP's Surgery
- A hospital emergency room, called Accident and Emergency (A&E) or Casualty in UK hospitals
- A walk-in center providing services similar to an emergency room
Once you are admitted to a hospital - even for emergency surgery or further emergency treatment - you have to pay for your treatment and medicines. If you are asked to return for a clinic visit to follow up your emergency treatment, you will also have to pay for that.
Contact your embassy/consulate: When in doubt, your country’s embassy is a good resource to turn to for medical assistance guidance.
JCI-accredited hospitals/clinics in the United Kingdom: To read about specific facilities that are JCI-accredited, visit the Hospital Search section.
United Kingdom-specific helpful health resources:
Travel health notices: Visit the CDC or WHO for up-to-date travel notices.