Health care for UK pensioners visiting Scotland

I receive a UK state pension and I live abroad. Can I get health care from the NHS when I visit Scotland?

  • You can get health care from the NHS when you visit Scotland if:
    • you spend at least six months of the year in the UK and the rest of the time in the European Economic Area (EEA) or Switzerland, or
    • you spend at least nine months of the year in the UK and the rest of the time in another country. 

I receive a UK state pension but I live abroad all or most of the time. Will I be able to get health care from the NHS when I visit Scotland?

  • If you need treatment for an illness or condition that develops while you are visiting Scotland, you will be able to get this from the NHS if:
    • you lived in the UK for more than 10 years before moving abroad, or
    • you worked for more than 10 years as a Crown servant before moving abroad (for example, you were an employee of HM Forces, a civil servant, or a diplomat), or
    • you have a European Health Insurance Card (EHIC).

      If you have an EHIC card, you will also be able to get NHS treatment while in Scotland for a condition or illness that you had before coming to Scotland.

      If you don’t have an EHIC card, you may be able to get treatment for an illness or condition that you had before you came to Scotland, if it gets worse after you arrive. But it’s up to the doctor providing treatment to decide whether to treat you as an NHS patient.
  • The UK has special health care arrangements with some countries outside the EEA. If you live in one of those countries, you can get some health care from the NHS when you are visiting Scotland. For more information, call the NHS inform Helpline on 0800 22 44 88 or ask staff at a GP surgery or hospital.

Page last edited: 20 February 2013