This blog article is a continuation of my immigration journey to the United Kingdom. Part of the spouse visa process was the payment for the IHS or Immigration Health Surcharge. This would allow me, holding a spouse visa, to access “free” medical assessment and treatment from NHS or the National Health Service. This somehow keeps me and my husband feel at ease knowing that I am “medical-covered”. The IHS surcharge may be a bit expensive but I am quite sure it will be all worth it for a fact that medical treatment here in the United Kingdom is very expensive.
The National Health Service, known as the “NHS” is responsible in providing free health care in the UK for UK nationals and citizens from other countries who also qualify for free health care in the UK. The NHS is composed of the following General Practitioner services:
- General Medical Practitioners (GP)
- General Dental Practitioners
- General Ophthalmic Practitioners
- General Pharmaceutical Practitioners
- community-based services and hospital services
A General Medical Practitioner or GP is your local personal NHS doctor. The place where you go to see them is called either a surgery or health centre. They are actually the first medical contact point with the NHS. They provide assessment and treatment and make sure you get the proper treatment you need. Registering with your local GP is important because by doing so, you are asking them to be responsible for your health/medical care needs. You also have access to your online medical record, may be able to order repeat prescriptions and can book appointments via their online services, which by the way you’ll be provided with your unique online services account details by your local surgery.
Going straight to the main point of this article, the following are the things you need to bear in mind if you are going to register with your local GP. Take note though that this is just general information and registration with your local GP may vary from other areas of the country.
Initially, you have to locate where your local GP is to give them a visit. Tell the staff you wish to register with the GP. You will be asked for your basic details, proof of identity and sometimes proof of address (passport, BRP card, etc). You will also be given a form to fill out (sample shown below with a link where you may be able to download it). If you get lucky, you’ll be able to get registered right away. But if not, you’ll be given an appointment date where you have to get back at the surgery or health centre to finish the registration process.
My personal experience though in registering with my local GP was slightly different than the generic information I have mentioned. Here’s how I registered:
- I submitted an online pre-registration form. Here’s the link: https://www.mysurgerywebsite.co.uk/secure/pre_reg1.aspx?p=F86001
- I waited for a couple of days for the mail from my local surgery/health center. The mail contained a letter from them acknowledging my online request for registration with the GP and instructions what to do next. A return envelope was also in the mail and a copy of the registration form for me to fill out. (See image below)
- I had two options with my fully filled out registration form, either to mail it back to them using the return envelope or submit to them personally. I opted for the latter.
- As I give them back my fully filled out registration form, the receptionist asked me for my passport and scheduled me for an appointment with the GP and gave me a urine collector. I was advised to have my urine specimen with me on my appointment with the GP.
- On the day of my GP appointment, I was seen by a nurse (who was by the way very nice). She then took my urine specimen and did a diagnostic (which turned out perfectly fine) test. She then took my weight, height and all the works as well as my medical history.