Primary care is free for all and the first point of contact for most people. It is delivered by a wide range of independent contractors, such as general practitioners (GPs), dentists, pharmacists and optometrists, through NHS walk-in centres and the NHS 111 telephone service.
Hospital treatment is free to people classed as “ordinarily resident” in the UK. This is not dependent on nationality, payment of UK taxes, National Insurance (NI) contributions, being registered with a GP, having an NHS Number or owning property in the UK.
To be considered ordinarily resident, and entitled to free hospital treatment, you must be living in the UK on a lawful and properly settled basis for the time being – you may be asked to prove this.
Non-EEA nationals who are subject to immigration control are not classed as ordinarily resident unless they have indefinite leave to remain.
For more information please see here.
If you are ill while away from home or if you are not registered with a doctor but need to see one you can receive emergency treatment from the local GP practice for 14 days. After 14 days you will need to register as a temporary or permanent patient.
You can be registered as a temporary patient for up to three months. This will allow you to be on the local practice list and still remain a patient of your permanent GP. After three months you will have to re-register as a temporary patient or permanently register with that practice.
To register as a temporary patient simply contact the local practice you wish to use. Practices do not have to accept you as a temporary patient although they do have an obligation to offer emergency treatment. You cannot register as a temporary patient at a practice in the town or area where you are already registered.