Doctors and Dentists

National Health Service (NHS)
Britain has a National Healthcare Service similar to Canada’s.  When I moved over it was free as long as you were a resident (though no one ever asked me for proof of that). However, in April 2015 everyone applying for a UK visa both in the UK and outside the UK are now required to pay an NHS surcharge before applying for their UK visa. You will not need to pay the NHS Surcharge if you are applying for Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR) or any British Citizenship type applications.

In February 2018 the government announced that it plans on increasing the surcharge from £200 to £400 per year. The discounted rate for students and those on the Youth Mobility Scheme will increase from £150 to £300.

You can start using the National Health Service (NHS) when once you’ve paid the healthcare surcharge (unless you are exempt from paying it) and your visa or immigration application is granted.

You will need to register with your local surgery (Dr office) in the area where you live.  The most I have ever had to wait for an appointment was a week, usually I can get an appointment within a day though I do live in a very small town so it’s likely to be a different story in a larger area.  Prescriptions are really reasonably priced; the prescription charge just increased (April 2018) from £8.60 to £8.80 and children get their prescriptions free of charge.

When looking for a dentist you can either choose a private dentist or you can choose a NHS dentist.  Using a NHS dentist doesn’t mean the treatment will be free, but it will be greatly reduced compared to going private.  However, not all dental practices will take on NHS patients so you may have to join a waiting list, look for a different dentist who is taking on new NHS patients or, see a private dentist.

If you do find a NHS dental practice, you will need to fill in a registration form which will add you to their database but, that doesn’t mean you have guaranteed access to a NHS dental appointment in the future.

You’ll be entitled to free NHS dental care if you are:

  • under 18 or under 19 and in full-time education (and yes this includes braces!)
  • pregnant or have had a baby in the previous 12 months
  • being treated in an NHS hospital and your treatment is carried out by the hospital dentist (but you may have to pay for any dentures or bridges)
  • receiving low income benefits, or you’re under 20 and a dependant of someone receiving low income benefits

I have been to both a private dentist and a NHS dentist.  I found the costs of dental treatment with a private dentist to be comparable to what I paid in Canada.  My last checkup with the NHS dentist cost £18.50; and an appointment with a hygienist cost me £50.00.  check here for more information about

Helpful Links

NHS Dental charges
Find a NHS Dentist