Picture of Three doctors at Ysbyty Ystrad Fawr Hospital, Caerphilly
Three doctors at Ysbyty Ystrad Fawr Hospital, Caerphilly

Healthcare in Wales

People living in Wales can access a full and diverse range of healthcare, with the National Health Service (NHS) and both private and complementary medicine practices available.

The National Health Service was launched over 60 years ago to provide free healthcare as a basic right to anyone residing in the UK.

From 6 April 2015, all nationals from outside the European Economic Area (EEA) coming to the UK for longer than six months will be required to pay a ‘health surcharge’ as part of their visa application.

Those who have paid the surcharge or are not required to do so because they are exempt will be able to access the National Health Service (NHS) in the same way as a permanent UK resident. Further information, including about exemptions, is available on the UK government website.

NHS Wales is the publically funded National Health Service of Wales providing healthcare to some 3 million people who live in the country.

To qualify for NHS healthcare you need to register with a doctor working in a community surgery, rather than in a hospital. In the UK these are known as general practitioners, or GPs for short. A General Practitioner (GP) is a doctor who deals with general medical problems. You should register with a doctor at your local medical centre as soon as you can.

For those who qualify for NHS healthcare, here in Wales our prescriptions are free of charge. Your doctor will write a prescription note for the medicine you require, which you take to a local pharmacy.

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