Re: My first NHS experience...

Sunday, July 15, 2007

I've had a few responses to my NHS entry and feel I should make one important point I didn't mention.  Many of my readers are expats that are here because they are married to British citizens.  If you have a spouse visa, you may come across the same problem I had when I first got my visa and I think it's important to make sure others are well informed...
Once I got my spouse visa,  and went to my local GP for the first time to be treated for a nasty flu thinking I was eligible for care through the NHS.  Upon arrival, I was told that because it said on my visa 'No recourse to public funds' I was not eligible for NHS care and was sent away without even having my temperature taken.  I went the next year without care for  an arthritic illness that I need treatment for from time to time and didn't like being refused treatment. 
We were really frustrated with the situation.  Wayne thought it must be a mistake so I did some research.  I found on an immigration support website, that this was in fact the case.  I called my GP's office and explained the situation.  I gave then the web address for them to refer to, but they wanted no part of it and abruptly told me I was wrong and was not eligible for care in their office.  I did more research made quite a few calls and was finally put through to the office that was in charge of the NHS in my area.  I finally got someone to help me.  He registered me to the local GP, sent me my NHS card and it was finally taken care of.
Unfortunately, I was already tainted by the situation and the bad experience I had in that office and until I got pregnant (almost a year later), never saw the inside if their office.  I just had no desire to deal with them.
I'm sharing this story so that expats that are here on a spouse visa know their rights and know the actions to take to resolve it if they come across the same sort of thing.



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