Healthcare for Ukrainian Nationals

In the UK, primary care services are the first point of contact to access the healthcare system. Primary care includes general practice (doctor/GP), community pharmacy, dental, and optometry (eye health) services. We recommended that you register with a doctor/GP to help you access the right support as soon as you arrive.

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Registering with a doctor or GP to get healthcare

A General Practitioner, commonly known as a GP, is the first doctor you will usually visit for routine health problems in the UK. A GP can offer medical advice, provide a diagnosis and prescribe medicines. They might be your first point of contact for many physical and mental health concerns. The GP practice or doctors' surgery is also responsible for coordinating and managing your long-term healthcare and they can refer you if you need more specialised hospital services

Everyone has a right to register with a GP and you do not need proof of address, immigration status, identification (ID) or an NHS number (you may be asked to provide ID but it is not a requirement).

GP and nurse consultations in primary care, treatment provided by a GP and other primary care services are free of charge to all whether registering with a GP as an NHS patient, or accessing NHS services as a temporary patient. A temporary patient is someone who is in the area for more than 24 hours and less than 3 months. If you have ID this can help make sure your name is spelled correctly in your NHS records. Find your nearest GP service.

Urgent and emergency services

The NHS provides services if you need urgent or emergency medical help.

Access to medical support in an emergency

Go to Accident & Emergency (A&E): if you have a life-threatening emergency.

Call 999: in a medical or mental health emergency. This is when someone is seriously ill or injured and their life is at risk.

When to call 999 - NHS

Use NHS 111 online or call 111: if you think you need medical help right now.

When to use NHS 111 online or call 111 - NHS

Mental Health Crisis

Use the Mental Health Crisis Helpline on 0800 915 4644: if you are in crisis or worried about yourself or a young person.

Get help in a mental health crisis - Surrey and Borders Partnership NHS Foundation Trust

Walk-in or Urgent Treatment centre

Go to urgent care services: Urgent treatment centres, minor injuries units or walk- in centres provide care if you need urgent medical care for minor injuries such as cuts, sprains and small fractures, or urgent medical advice.

UK vaccination programmes for protection against infectious diseases

NHS vaccinations are free to everyone and give the best protection to children and adults against potentially life-threatening diseases such as meningitis, COVID-19, mumps, measles, and rubella.

Vaccination is the safest and most common way to gain immunity against a bacteria or virus that your body has yet to encounter. Vaccines undergo rigorous safety testing before being introduced to make sure they will not harm us. Once a vaccine is being used in the UK, it is constantly monitored for side effects by the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA). Further information on why vaccinations are safe and important can be found on the NHS website.

Different countries offer different vaccines. It is good to check with your GP practice and make sure you have had all of the vaccines we offer for free here in the UK . For more information related to the vaccines offered in the UK and when to have them, please visit NHS Vaccinations or vaccination and immunisation.

Measles resurgence - are you protected?

Measles infections are on the rise in England and there has been a large outbreak across the West Midlands in England during winter 2023. There are also outbreaks ongoing in Europe and globally.

Uptake of all childhood vaccines in England have been falling over the past decade. In Surrey, not enough people have been vaccinated with the Measles, Mumps, and Rubella (MMR) vaccine to prevent a large outbreak if the infection takes hold in unvaccinated communities.

The MMR is the safest and most effective protection against measles. Two doses of the vaccine give 99% protection against measles.

It's never too late to catch up, and people can get the MMR vaccine for free on the NHS whatever their age through their GP. Please check your own and your family's MMR status and contact your GP practice if you have not had two doses.
It's especially important to check you've had both doses if you:

  • have ever missed any of your routine vaccinations
  • are about to start school, college or university
  • are going to travel abroad
  • are planning a pregnancy
  • are a frontline health or social care worker

Measles is a highly infectious disease that can lead to serious complications such as pneumonia, meningitis, and on rare occasions, it can be fatal. Further information about Measles and the MMR vaccine can be found on the NHS measles webpage and the NHS MMR (measles, mumps and rubella) vaccine webpage.

A measles fact sheet is available in Ukrainian on GOV.UK's national measles guidelines.

Coronavirus (COVID-19)

COVID-19 continues to circulate in the UK. Anybody can be infected and pass it on to others.

For most people, the infection is likely to be mild, although it can make some feel very unwell. Others remain at high risk of severe disease, particularly those who are 75 years and older and those who have a weak immune system (immunosuppressed people).

During winter 2023 there was a decrease in people becoming seriously unwell and needing to go into hospital, as well as fewer people having a positive test result than in previous years. Now that most people are not tested it is not possible to be sure how many people have been infected, although estimates are made by monitoring background rates of respiratory infections in the community.

If you have symptoms of any respiratory infection, or a positive COVID-19 test, try to stay at home and away from other people until you no longer feel unwell, or until you no longer have a high temperature (fever). It is important to avoid close contact with people you know are at higher risk, such as the elderly and people who are immunosuppressed.

If it is not possible to stay at home while ill, the Living with COVID guidance advises how to reduce the risk of infecting other people.

Covid-19 vaccination

The coronavirus (COVID-19 vaccines give safe and effective protection against severe disease and hospitalisation. Most people are no longer eligible for the vaccination. The spring 2024 vaccination programme will offer the vaccine to people who are most at risk of severe disease:

  • residents in a care home for older adults
  • adults who are 75 years old or older
  • Everyone over the age of 6 months old who has a weak immune system (immunosuppressed)

Please see About COVID-19 vaccination which tells you how to get the vaccination if you are eligible. Everyone who is eligible is encouraged to come forward for their vaccine.

Flu vaccine

Flu vaccination is safe and effective. It's offered every year through the NHS to help protect people at risk of getting seriously ill from flu. Flu vaccination is important because, while flu is unpleasant for most people, it can be dangerous and even life threatening for some people, particularly those with certain health conditions.

Find out if you are eligible for a free flu vaccine and book or manage a free NHS flu vaccination at a pharmacy. If you're eligible for a free flu vaccine, you can also book an appointment at your GP surgery.

Mental health

Mental health problems range from the worries we all experience as part of everyday life to serious long-term conditions. We understand that you have been through a very traumatic time and been exposed to a huge mental stress.

If you, or someone you love, need help this is best arranged through making an appointment with your GP. If you are struggling but do not want to talk to a GP, there are a wide-range of support organisations that offer helplines where you can talk in confidence to a trained advisor.

These include:

See Healthy Surrey mental wellbeing for information about local services.

Other mental health support services, helplines and courses

Our community helpline

If you are struggling or unable to find the right wellbeing help and support, you can speak with a member of our community helpline team. You can talk through your needs with them and they will help to point you in the right direction for financial, welfare or wellbeing support in Surrey.

Contact details

  • Telephone: 0300 200 1008 (9am to 5pm, Monday to Friday, excluding bank holidays)
  • Complete our community helpline enquiry form
  • Textphone (via Text Relay): 18001 0300 200 1008
  • Telephone from overseas: +44 20 8541 9944 (9am to 5pm, Monday to Friday, excluding bank holidays)
  • SMS: 07860 053 465
  • VRS: Sign language video relay service

For more information, visit our community helpline webpage.

Maternity care and services

You will be offered free care when you are pregnant and after you give birth. This is likely to be arranged through your GP.

Maternity services cover care from the beginning of pregnancy through to sign off by a midwife. Midwives ensure that personalised care is provided throughout pregnancy, childbirth and the postnatal period. Much of this care will be provided directly by midwives, who will also coordinate the provision of obstetric or other medical involvement if necessary.

You should contact a GP or midwife as soon as you find out you're pregnant. It's important to see a midwife or GP as early as possible to get the pregnancy (antenatal) care and information you need to have a healthy pregnancy. For more information visit: your antenatal care - NHS.

You are also entitled to support from a health visitor. A health visitor is a qualified nurse or midwife who has had extra training. They're there to help you, your family and children up to the age of five years old to stay healthy. For more information visit: services and support for parents - NHS.

Pharmacy - accessing medication

Most GP practices are not co-located with a pharmacy. If your GP wants you to take a particular medication, he or she will provide you with a prescription that you will need to take to your local pharmacy.

The GP surgery will be able to advise you about where you should go to collect your medicine. You can also find information about the location of local pharmacies online at: Find a pharmacy - NHS.

There is normally a charge for prescriptions, which you will be asked to pay when you collect your medication at the pharmacy. However, prescriptions are provided free of charge if you meet certain requirements. Find out who can get free prescriptions - NHS.

Pharmacists are experts in medicines who can help you with minor health concerns. As qualified healthcare professionals, they can offer clinical advice and over-the-counter medicines for a range of minor illnesses, such as coughs, colds, sore throats, tummy trouble and aches and pains. For more information visit: how a pharmacist can help.

Sexual health

A sexual health clinic specialises in sexual health, and can provide tests and treatment for many sexually transmitted infections (STIs). You can also get advice about free contraception and condoms. Anyone can use free NHS Sexual Health Services. In Surrey, you can access services either by visiting a clinic or by ordering an online home screening kit. Either way you choose, the service is completely free and confidential.

Contraception - there are lots of different types of contraception available. Contact the Surrey Sexual Health Service to discuss options and find out more about the best contraception method for you. You can also order the pill, patch and vaginal ring (over 18s).

C-Card - in Surrey those aged under 25 can also access free condoms through the condom distribution scheme.

HIV PrEP - Pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) is a medication taken by HIV negative people to reduce their chance of contracting HIV. If you would like to start PrEP or need a repeat prescription, visit the Surrey Sexual Health Service website to book an appointment online.

Emergency contraception - emergency contraception is available in sexual health clinics and many pharmacies in Surrey. You can also get emergency contraception from your GP, walk-in centre, A&E department or can be purchased from local pharmacies.

Sexual health clinics: There are sexual health clinics all over Surrey, including clinics for under 25s. Visit the sexual health clinic information on Healthy Surrey for more details.

GP surgeries: GP surgeries offer contraception methods such as the contraceptive pill and Long Acting Reversible Contraception (LARC) methods such as the intrauterine device (IUD) and implant. Contact your surgery directly for more information.

Pharmacies: Pharmacies across Surrey provide a number of free sexual health services to young people under 25 years old. Chlamydia treatment and emergency contraception are free to under 25 year olds and some over 25 year olds at selected Surrey pharmacies. If your nearest pharmacies does not offer the free services, they should be able to signpost you to another pharmacy that does.

Dentistry or dental care and services

You are entitled to NHS dental care to help keep your mouth, teeth and gums free of pain. If your tooth is painful you should call NHS 111 for Urgent Dental Care Services.

You can search online for local dentists and ask to register for an appointment.

NHS dentistry is only free by exemption (for example, if you are aged under 18 or in receipt of low income benefits). Costs for dental appointments depend on what treatment you are having. For more information visit: Who is entitled to free NHS dental treatment in England? - NHS.

Eye care

You can make an appointment with any high street optician to have an eyesight test or get help with your glasses or contact lenses. There may be costs unless you are eligible for a free NHS eyesight test or optical vouchers (for example, if you are under 16 or in receipt of low income benefits).

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