If you’re planning to travel to London, you’re probably excited about all the amazing things to see and do in the city. Whether you’re coming from the UK or abroad, for the purpose of tourism, study or work – London is a vibrant, interesting city filled with culture, history, and fun.
But, it’s good to be prepared for the event of falling ill during your trip to the UK capital. This is particularly important if you are not originally from the UK as you may not be eligible for the many NHS healthcare services located in the city. We’ve put together some top tips for preventing and dealing with illness or injury during a trip to London.
1 Get Travel Insurance
First of all, if you are planning to visit London from abroad then it’s essential that you are covered by a good travel insurance plan. This is especially important if you are not eligible for free NHS treatment in the UK, for example, you are from a country outside of the EU. A good travel insurance policy will ensure that you are covered for any medical costs that you may incur during your stay, allowing you to enjoy exploring London stress-free once you’re feeling better.
2 Find Local Healthcare Providers
Whether you’re visiting from inside the UK or abroad, knowing where the nearest doctor’s clinic, hospital, and urgent care centres are is a wise move. Before you arrive at your accommodation, take a quick look at a map to work out where is easiest to get to if you need medical attention. And don’t forget that if you are staying in a London hotel, the reception desk will always be happy to help with any queries that you might have in regards to local healthcare options. The good news is that London is home to some of the best hospitals and medical staff in Europe, so you’ll certainly be in good hands.
3 Visiting as a Student
If you are travelling to London to study, then you are likely going to be eligible for more free NHS services than you would be as a regular tourist. If you’re taking a course that lasts for more than six months, you will be able to register at a local NHS GP, providing you are able to produce proof of your student status in London and confirmation from your university. If you’re a student who is travelling with their spouse or children, and they are all short-term visitors, your family will also be eligible for the same free treatments.
4 Private Medical Care
In some cases, you might find that private medical care is the best option for you or your family when travelling in London. There are several reputable private clinics in the city but bear in mind that your travel insurance may not always cover the cost of treatment if you had the option of getting it through the NHS. If you are experiencing symptoms such as a sore throat, acid reflux, nasal pain or an impaired sense of smell, you can visit the team of ear, nose and throat consultants at ENT 150 Harley Street who will be able to run diagnostic tests and provide treatment to you much faster. ENT 150 Harley Street is a centre of excellence for ear, nose and throat complaints and is home to world class ENT consultants with state-of-the-art diagnostic equipment.
5 Emergency Situations
If you are visiting London and find yourself in an emergency medical situation, there are a couple of options that you should consider. If you are able, the fastest way to be seen by a medical professional is to make your way to the nearest Accident and Emergency (A&E), usually located at a hospital. Or, if your condition needs attention quickly but is not life-threatening, head to the nearest urgent care walk-in centre. These are usually located at both hospitals and GP clinics. If neither of these options is feasible in your situation, dial 999 and ask for the ambulance service to your location. The ambulance will then take you to the closest A&E for assessment and treatment. If you are unsure of the best course of action to take and are experiencing pain, dial 111. This is a free NHS service that patients can use to speak with trained nurses and doctors over the telephone to get advice on the next best course of action to take.
If you are sick or injured in London, it’s always good to know where the nearest place to get medical attention is. Before you leave, take out a good travel insurance policy and know where to find the nearest hospital or doctors’ clinic. Don’t forget that if you’re in any pain or discomfort, a quick call to 111 will help you best understand what to do next. 111 advisors can also help you with details of your nearest urgent care centre or hospital.