Health and Insurance in the UK
Even if you are reluctant to buy expensive international health insurance or ask your future employer about a company insurance plan, your health and that of your family is always in capable hands. The National Health Service (NHS), one of the UK’s most monolithic institutions, offers quality healthcare for all citizens and residents (almost) free of charge. You do, of course, have many different options for buying additional private health insurance coverage, but you will not be worse off if you choose not to. This might be of interest particularly for expats on a budget.
The General Practitioner
Depending on what part of the world you hail from, there might be several specialist doctors you turn to for your various healthcare needs. In the UK, your main confidant in healthcare matters is your general practitioner (GP). The profession of the GP is doubtlessly among the most significant for the entire health infrastructure of the UK, and they will also be of key importance for your well-being during your time abroad in the UK. No matter what ailment you might suffer from – if you don’t have to be rushed to the emergency room of a hospital, your first stop is the GP practice you are registered at.
Current and Upcoming Changes
The topic of healthcare in the UK is – not only currently – hotly debated. As little disputed the importance of the NHS for millions of UK citizens might be, the institution has long been a popular target of criticism and, at times, ridicule. Having to cope not only with the healthcare needs of a population that is both growing and aging, but also with limited funds and overburdened healthcare professionals, the calls for a thorough reform of the NHS system were paid heed in the beginning of 2013, when the first reforms of the Health and Social Care Bill 2011 came into effect. The long-term changes the bill introduces are thought to be profound. However, the impact they have on how UK citizens and residents can access and receive healthcare are rather negligible, at least for now.