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 a same-day appointment can even be booked. Although some systematic red tape can cause irritation, expats who have never benefited from nationalised healthcare may be pleasantly surprised.

Upon finding accommodation in Edinburgh, expats will need to register with a “surgery”, the term for a General Practitioner’s (GP) practice. The NHS website will help in finding which practices serve the different areas. Once registered, expats will be given an NHS number, and obtaining an appointment becomes quick and easy.

In case of an emergency, NHS24 can be called at 111 for an after-hours medical situation. 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 the situation is exceptionally urgent and/or life threatening, expats 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.

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: +44 150 652 3000

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

Search Expat Arrivals

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,...

Got a question about your new country?