Healthcare in Edinburgh

Healthcare in Edinburgh

Expats will have options for private and public healthcare in Edinburgh. 

Public sector services are provided by the National Health Service (NHS) Scotland. All citizens and residents are eligible for enrolment in this system, funded through deductions from salaries. In short, no payment is required for doctor or hospital visits.

While plagued by some controversies, the NHS is generally efficient and provides high quality care. Expats will find that the waiting times for appointments are generally shorter than in England; often you can even book a same day appointment. Although some systematic red tape can cause irritation, expats who have never benefited from nationalised healthcare may be pleasantly surprised.

Once you have found accommodation in Edinburgh, you’ll need to register with a “surgery”, the term for a General Practitioner’s (GP) practice. If you aren’t sure which surgery or surgeries serve your area, visit the NHS website to find practices in your area. Once registered, you will be given an NHS number, and obtaining an appointment becomes quick and easy.

If you have an after-hours medical situation, you can call NHS24 at 111. There is a Minor Injuries Clinic at Western General that operates from 9am to 9pm every day, and the A&E Department at the Royal Infirmary is for all emergency and urgent medical needs. If your need is exceptionally urgent and/or life threatening, you should call 999 (the emergency line number) and request an ambulance.

Private healthcare is also available, though it can be prohibitively expensive and the elevated standard of complimentary public care leads many expats to forego this excess cost.

Below is a list of some of the main public and private hospitals in Edinburgh.

Public Hospitals in Edinburgh (NHS)

NHS hospital information can be found on the NHS Lothian website.

Royal Infirmary of Edinburgh 
Tel: +44 131 536 1000

St. John's Hospital
Tel: +44 1506 523000

Western General Hospital
Tel: +44 131 537 1000

Leith Community Treatment Centre
Tel: +44 131 536 6225  

Royal Hospital for Sick Children
Tel: +44 131 536 0000

Private Hospitals in Edinburgh

Edinburgh Clinic
Tel: +44 131 447 2340
Murrayfield Hospital
Tel: +44 845 600 2110
Shawfair Park Hospital
Tel: +44 131 654 5600

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Our Edinburgh Expert

RebeccaManor's picture
the United States
Rebecca Manor is an American expat who moved to Edinburgh in 2007 with her husband.  Inspired by this gorgeous city,...

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