If you haven’t already heard, we recently launched our first international clinical experiences! AMOpportunities is now offering four clinical experiences in the U.K., made possible by our partnership with Guy’s and St. Thomas Hospital in London, which you can read more about here.
We know that many international medical students and graduates participate in our U.S. clinical experiences to test the waters. They use the four-week experience to help inform their decision to pursue a medical career in the U.S. Knowing that those who participate in our U.K. programs might take a similar approach, we want to provide some general information about U.K.’s healthcare system.
In the future, we will expand on our research to provide you information on how to go about becoming a physician in the U.K. Until then, here is an outline of how healthcare in the U.K. works!
It’s Country Specific
In the U.K., healthcare varies based on country. This means that England, Northern Ireland, Scottland, and Wales, all run things a little differently. The common ground is that they all heave publicly funded healthcare systems that are overseen by country-specific branches of the National Health Service.
It Includes Universal Coverage
In the U.K., healthcare is free to everyone. It is viewed as a fundamental right, meaning those who cannot afford it are not turned away. Although many favor universal healthcare, there are some that elect to pay for private healthcare. Many citizens use a combination of public and private providers to keep themselves in good health.
It’s Not All-Inclusive Though
Although citizens of the U.K. receive free medical attention, if their doctor gives them a prescription for medication, they must fill it on their own dime. Prescriptions, dental care, and eye care are three items not covered under the U.K.’s universal healthcare system. To keep things reasonable for those who require medication, the NHS has mandated that prescriptions cost just under $11.50 no matter what medication it is.
If you want dental care, it will cost you. Only adolescents and pregnant women are eligible for free dental care. Everyone else must pay a fee, which varies depending on the type of services an individual requires.
It Rests on General Practitioners
General practitioners are the center point of healthcare in the U.K. Regardless of an individual’s health concerns, their journey for treatment must begin with an appointment to see a general practitioner. If this medical professional feels their patient needs additional care, he or she can then refer them to a specialist.
Because these appointments are more of a formality in cases where a specialist will most likely be needed, appointments with GPs are usually short, lasting only 15 minutes.
Interested in learning more about the U.K.’s healthcare system? Consider applying for one of our U.K. clinical experiences!