Health Advice for the UK

Countries  »  United Kingdom  »  Health Advice

Health Advice for the UK

The United Kingdom (UK) is an extremely safe country to travel to. There are low crime rates, no natural disasters and no dangerous creatures. The only major thing to worry about is terrorist attacks, though they are very extremely rare. There are currently no travelling restrictions in place for travelling to and throughout the UK.

Medical facilities in the UK are excellent. There is a reciprocal agreement between the UK and a number of countries that enables citizens free use of the National Health Services (NHS) if a temporary or permanent resident. Free healthcare is one of the best things about the UK, but the NHS is cracking down on tourists coming to the UK just to exploit free medical treatment.

General Hospital in Birmingham

Hospitals are wary of health tourists and if you're obviously not from England, then you may be asked where you are from and if within the EU. If you are from within the EU, you will be asked for your EHIC card (previously known as E111).

For more information check: www.fco.gov.uk

Emergencies

The number to call in an emergency is 999 and can be dialled from any telephone in the UK free of charge. This number will connect you with emergency operators for the ambulance service, fire brigade or police. The first question that the operator will ask is which service you need.

If you have a mobile phone obtained outside the UK, using the universal emergency number 112 is a better idea. Using 112 will use any available network, will work even if your phone is not roaming, and will work even if the phone does not have a SIM.

101 is a 24-hour telephone number provided by some police forces and local councils to deal with non-emergency crime, community safety and anti-social behaviour issues, but you're safer calling 999.

For advice on non-emergency medical problems, you can ring the 24 hour NHS Direct service on 0845 4647.

(NHS 24 in Scotland on 08454 242424)

Ambulance in the UK

Crime

The UK, by and large is a safe place to live and visit, and violent crime against tourists is rare. However you should always use general common sense to ensure you keep out of trouble. Overall, there are low levels of crime in the UK.

Gangs and thieves usually target tourists as they have a lot of expensive possessions. Don't flash your cash and be street wise. Make sure your possessions are secure and out of sight.

It is worth taking extra care on public transport, particularly at night, as pickpockets and drunks can be a problem.

Be careful in some towns and cities when it comes to late at night, especially on Fridays and Saturdays. There can be high levels of drunkenness and fights can often break out.

Illegal drugs

Like in most countries opium, heroin, amphetamines (speed), cocaine, LSD, ecstasy and marijuana among other drugs are all illegal both to possess and to sell in the UK, with trafficking offences usually carrying a jail term.

The risks involved in taking or selling drugs in a foreign country far out-weighs the pleasure of taking them. It is easy to say, but our advice is "just say no."