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Health care for asylum seekers and refugees in Scotland

Is all health care free for people registered as NHS patients?


When I am registered as an NHS patient, is all health care free?

If you are a refugee

  • A lot of your health care will be free. But you may need to pay for some things – for example, some dental treatment.
  • For more information on help with health costs, see the leaflet ‘A quick guide to help with health costs’ (HCS2). This leaflet tells you if you can get free treatment or help with the costs. It is available from citizens advice bureaux and Jobcentre Plus offices. You can also find it on the internet

If you are seeking asylum and you get asylum support from the UK Border Agency

  • You won't need to pay for your health care.
  • The UK Border Agency will give you an HC2 certificate. This shows you don’t need to pay for some things - for example dental treatment - that many people in Scotland pay for.
  • You can also use your HC2 certificate to get help with the cost of travelling to NHS hospital appointments.

If you are seeking asylum and you don’t get asylum support from the UK Border Agency, or if you have been refused asylum

  • A lot of your health care will be free.
  • You will need to fill in an HC1 form to apply for an HC2 certificate. This shows you don’t need to pay for some things - for example dental treatment - that many people in Scotland pay for. 
  • You can get an HC1 form from a Jobcentre Plus office, an NHS hospital, or by phoning 0845 850 1166.
  • Scottish Refugee Council may also be able to help you with this. You can call Scottish Refugee Council on 0800 085 6087 or look on the internet.
  • You can also use your HC2 certificate to get help with the cost of travelling to NHS hospital appointments.

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Can my family get health care from the NHS?

  • If you are registered as an NHS patient, your husband, wife or civil partner, and any of your children who live in Scotland with you, can get health care from the NHS too. The children must be aged under 16, or under 19 and in full-time education.
  • Staff at the GP surgery will ask you to fill in a form for your husband, wife or civil partner, and any children. You may need to show your marriage or civil partnership certificate, and birth certificates for your children.
  • Any other members of your family may be able to get health care from the NHS, but they will first need to prove that they can get NHS care in their own right and not as a member of your family.

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What happens if I am not registered as an NHS patient?

  •  If you are not registered as an NHS patient, you can still get some health care from the NHS.
  • Services that are free for everyone include:
    • emergency care in a hospital (in the accident and emergency department, casualty department or minor injury unit)
    • emergency care at a GP surgery
    • emergency transport in an ambulance
      sexual health services
    • treatment for some infectious diseases and sexually transmitted infections.

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Page last edited: 19 February 2013