Health care in the United Kingdom is a devolved matter. Administration and the funding of the publicly funded health care system in the UK, known as NHS are different for the different countries of the UK. Read on to find out more about the system of health care in the United Kingdom.
Health care in the United Kingdom
According to the World Health Organization, in 2000, the provision of health care in the United Kingdom was ranked fifteenth best in Europe and eighteenth best in the World
The system of health care in the United kingdom is devolved matter. Each of the countries in the United Kingdom (i.e. England, Wales, Scotland, and Northern Ireland) has their own health care system which is publicly as well as privately funded. Each of these states also provides access to holistic, complementary and alternative medical treatments. However, each country of the United Kingdom has different health care policies depending on the priorities and the requirements of the individual country.
All permanent residents of the UK can avail the facilities of public health care in United Kingdom from any of its constituent countries.
The system of private health care in the United Kingdom is also different for different countries in the UK. Compared to the public sector counterparts, the private sector health care sector is considerably smaller. Access to private health clinics in the United Kingdom can be acquired by means of private health insurance or customers can directly pay for accessing private health care. Many health care benefits offered by private health clinics in the United Kingdom are funded as part of the health care scheme, funded by employers.
The National Health Service
The National Health Service or NHS is the publicly funded system of health care in the United Kingdom. Only the health care in England is officially called National Health Service Out of the four publicly funded system of health care in the United Kingdom, NHS is the shared name of the three countries in the United Kingdom offering publicly funded health care. While that of Scotland and Wales are known as NHS Scotland and NHS Wales respectively. Publicly funded health care in Northern Ireland is known as Health and Social Care.
The health care systems in each of these countries are operated independently and they are politically accountable to their respective governments.
In spite of the difference in the funding and the administration in each of these publicly funded health care systems, when a patient of one countries of the UK requires treatment in another country, there is absolutely no discrimination. The administrative formalities and the financial consequences are dealt with by the concerned hospitals or health clinics in United Kingdom. There is absolutely no need for the patients to be involved personally.
NHS for the Non-residents
Foreign nationals who have been legally staying in the UK for a year and above or those who have recently arrived to take up permanent residence are entitled to the free treatments by any of the publicly funded health clinics in the United Kingdom.
Citizens of those countries with which the UK has reciprocal arrangements as well as citizens of European Economic Area are also entitled to free treatments.
In the case of emergencies or casualties, foreign nationals can receive free treatments.
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