National Health Service
The National Health Service (NHS) was launched 60 years ago to provide free healthcare as a basic right to anyone residing in the UK. You must have residency in the Uk or a valid visa for at least one year.
NHS services include:
- Hospital treatments
Find out more about healthcare in Scotland
Registering for healthcare in Scotland
To qualify for NHS healthcare you need to register with a doctor working in a community surgery, rather than in a hospital. In the UK these are known as general practitioners, or GPs for short.
Find out how to register with a GP
Healthcare advice,treatment, and medication is free if you qualify as being resident in the UK.
A doctor will write a prescription note for the medicine which you take to a local pharmacy.
If you need to visit your doctor you must make an appointment in advance, you can do this by telephoning your medical centre.
Most medical centres will have time set aside for emergency appointments however if you need to see a doctor outside of working hours you must phone NHS24 on 08454 242424.
Dentists in Scotland
A local dentist can be found in the same way as a GP, but there are differences in how they deliver NHS treatment.
Once again, children, some young people and those on state benefits may receive free care if registered with an NHS practitioner.
Expectant mothers, may be entitled to free dental treatment for a year after the birth of their child.
Opticians in Scotland
Everyone who is legally resident in Scotland can get free eye tests under the NHS.
Children and people over 60 may also get help towards spectacles and contact lenses.
Opticians can be found in most town centres.
Information about NHS Scotland
NHS Scotland employs around 158,000 staff including more than 47,500 nurses, midwives and health visitors and over 3,800 consultants.
In addition, there are also more than 12,000 doctors, family practitioners and other health professionals, including dentists, opticians and community pharmacists.