The majority of NHS Scotland (National Health Service) provision is paid for through taxation. Private care is paid for, usually, through a private healthcare insurance scheme or individuals.

NHS Scotland will always provide free accident and emergency treatment.

If you are employed or self-employed in Scotland you are entitled to health care from the NHS, as will your spouse and immediate family. More on your eligibility can be found on

Students on a full-time course receive the same free care as employed or self-employed migrants in Scotland. If you are studying part-time you could also be eligible for free NHS treatment.

The NHS in Scotland is managed by the Scottish Government. More information on the care available to you is on the NHS Inform website.

Local doctors

If you are living in Scotland, you will need to register with a local Scottish General Practitioner (GP). For students, the university will normally provide the name of a suitable GP in the area or on campus. It is free to register, and nearly all the treatment will be free of charge.

24 hour care

If you are ill outside of normal GP opening times, or have a medical query that is non-urgent - you can contact NHS 24 by phone on 111. They provide 24-hour telecare and can put you in touch with the relevant health services you need.

Working for the NHS

NHS Scotland is the single biggest employer in the country, employing people in over 70 professions. Applications are welcome from professionally qualified healthcare staff, particularly from those based outside the UK.

Find out more about working for the NHS in Scotland

NHS 70 Timeline

With highlights including the discovery of Penicillin, the innovative work with anaesthesia and pioneering the use of antisepsis in surgical procedures – Scotland has been leading the way in medical advances for centuries. However, many don’t know that Scotland was hugely influential in the creation of the NHS and that the service had its own strong and distinctive roots well before 1948.

Learn more

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