Visiting the United Kingdom

The Reciprocal Health Care Agreement (RHCA) we have with the United Kingdom (UK) may cover some of your medical costs in the UK public health system.

To be eligible it must be:

  • medically necessary care that can’t wait till you get home
  • in the National Health Service (NHS) system
  • within 6 months after you arrive.

Most NHS services are free. You’ll still pay fees for some things, such as medicine.

If you get private care you’ll pay the full cost.

What’s covered

The agreement covers:

  • care from an NHS doctor or nurse at a GP surgery - you need to register there as an NHS patient
  • care in a public ward of an NHS hospital
  • out-patient care at an NHS hospital
  • ambulance travel to an NHS hospital or other NHS facilities
  • prescription medicine if the doctor treats you as an NHS patient, there’s a small fee for this.

What it doesn’t cover

The agreement doesn’t cover:

  • non-subsidised medicine from pharmacies
  • prescription medicines if you’re not an NHS patient
  • any dental services.

Your travel insurance may cover these and other extra costs.

What to do

Ask for care as an NHS patient. Be ready to show your passport and Medicare card.

Read how to prove you’re eligible.

You don’t need to join the NHS. Doctors can register and treat anyone as a visitor but can refuse with reason.

Regional differences

Health care can vary in parts of the UK. Read about NHS cover in:

Page last updated: 25 May 2022.
QC 38326