Healthcare in Edinburgh

Medicines, Hospitals in Edinburgh

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Free emergency medical care is given regardless of nationality and ability-to-pay. If you are hospitalized for more than one night and you are a national of a country without a reciprocal health agreement with the UK, you will eventually be charged for care.

If you are physically able, you should transport yourself to the Accident & Emergency (A&E) department for care. If you are in need of an ambulance, call the general emergency number 999.

For minor or non-life threatening illnesses, call your GP or any local doctor. There are also a number of private 24-hour doctor services that make house calls. check the yellow pages if your doctor is unavailable.

  • Royal Infirmary of Edinburgh (Tel: 0131 536 1000; Address: 51 Little France Crescent, Old Dalkeith Road, Edinburgh, EH16 4SA) - On the southern fringe of the city, it can take up to 30 min from the city center in a bus or taxi. Open 24-hours.
  • Western General Hospital (Tel: 0131 537 1000; Address: Crewe Road South, Edinburgh, EH4 2XU) - Includes a large cancer treatment center and the nurse-led Minor Injuries Clinic.
  • Murrayfield Hospital (Tel: 0131 334 0363; Address: 122 Corstorphine Road, Edinburgh, EH12 6UD) - the private hospital, owned by Spire Healthcare.
  • Royal Edinburgh Hospital (Tel: 0131 537 6000; Address: Morningside Place, Edinburgh, EH10 5HF) - specialises in mental health. Situated in Morningside.
  • Royal Hospital for Sick Children (Tel: 0131 536 0000; Address: 9 Sciennes Road, Edinburgh, EH9 1LF) - Located in Sciennes Road; it is popularly known as the "Sick Kids".


Pharmacies (or chemists) can be found anywhere is Scotland. Business hours are Monday to Friday 9:00 to 17:30, Saturday 9:00-12:30. Outside of these hours, it may difficult to find an open store as there are no 24-hour pharmacies in the city. The timetables of chemists are posted on their doors and in local newspapers. In emergency, if you need medicine when all pharmacies are shut, then you can contact your GP or local police station. Some major supermarkets have a pharmacy counter and they may be open for separate opening hours than the market.

There are three categories of medicines in the UK:
Medicine prescribed by a doctor
Medicine sold under the supervision of a pharmacist
Medicine that is freely available

NHS prescriptions for medicines are charged at a fixed rate (currently 6.30 GBP). People under 16, pensioners, pregnant woman, people on permanent disability, low-income, and students under 19 are entitled to free prescriptions.

Update 8/04/2011


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About the refund of medical expenses
The letter received from the Overseas Healthcare Team says:
"Your expenses will be reimbursed according to the rules and rates of he country in which you received treatment. As a result, please note that it is unlikely you will receive a full reimbursement. The average response time from EEA countries is approximatively 4 months."

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