One thing that we sometimes don’t take into account is to know how to access the health services once we step on to English soil. Work, accommodation and studios yes, but health services? As we’re not immortal nor are we made of steel, we provide you with some steps on how to access it.
- You have to be registered somewhere in order to be attended to.
- Search for your closest local surgery using your postcode, then call or visit them to get and complete your registration form. It is free (you already paid for the service when you applied for your visa) and you will only need to copy your passport, BRP and a document showing your name and home address. You acceptance card will arrive one week later, keep it safe!
- Once your application has been accepted, visit the surgery again and request an appointment with a GP. Do this with plenty of time to spare, as typically it can take a long time to be attended to. However, request to be able to access the online Patients Access so that in the future you can request appointments, re-write medical orders or see medical test results over the internet.
- Pharmacies: You can choose the closest pharmacy to you to pick up medication from or request home delivery. Some pharmacists are qualified to make recommendations, trust in them.
- If you need to see a dentist, you don’t need to register yourself like the GP. You can search for whatever is most convenient and close to you to request an appointment, but you must pay a fee for every consultation you have.
- Emergencies: Always have your home address to hand, the address where the patient is and also their date of birth. For any dental emergency or priority consultation you need to call 111. For any vital emergency for whatever situation you must call 999.
- So that you are attended to in a hospital for anything that is not an emergency, you will need to have been referred. If you are firstly an outpatient you can choose your preference, which includes private hospitals that lend their services to the NHS. The service is free whether you are a resident or visiting the UK. Visits to the hospital are when you require specialized treatments or need a second opinion.
Use the online platforms that the NHS have to learn more and keep track of your state of health and Trust in the opinions of the nurses, pharmacists, coordinators, receptionists and any other member of staff that works in the field.
Written by Leslie Vasquez
Translated by Martyn Davies