Expats will have numerous 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.

The NHS is generally efficient and provides high-quality care, but waiting times may be long. Upon finding accommodation in Edinburgh, expats will need to register with a local general practitioner. Once registered, expats will be given an NHS number.

Private healthcare is also available, though it can be expensive, and the superb standard of complimentary public care leads many expats to forego this additional cost. Some expats do choose to use private healthcare to skip the waiting periods characteristic of the public sector. If planning to use private healthcare, it is recommended that expats invest in good comprehensive health insurance.

In the case of a medical emergency (where someone is seriously ill or injured) an ambulance should be called on 999. If medical attention or advice is needed in a non-life-threatening instance, 111 can be dialled instead. 

Ambulances called on the national number will take the patient to the nearest NHS hospital. Once the patient has been examined, they may be sent to another hospital specialising in their particular ailment. This may be a public or private hospital, but as long as the initial hospital was an NHS hospital, the NHS will pay for the treatment regardless.

Useful links


Public hospitals in Edinburgh

Healthcare banner

Leith Community Treatment Centre

Website: www.nhslothian.scot.nhs.uk
Address: 12 Junction Place

Royal Infirmary of Edinburgh 

Website: www.nhslothian.scot.nhs.uk
Address: 51 Little France Crescent

Royal Hospital for Children and Young People

Website: www.children.nhslothian.scot
Address: 50 Little France Crescent

Western General Hospital

Website: www.nhslothian.scot.nhs.uk
Address: Crewe Road South


Private hospitals in Edinburgh

Edinburgh Clinic

Website: www.edinburghclinic.com
Address: 40 Colinton Road

Spire Murrayfield Hospital

Website: www.spirehealthcare.com
Address: 122 Corstorphine Road

Spire Shawfair Park Hospital

Website: www.spirehealthcare.com
Address: 10 Easter Shawfair

Expat Health Insurance

Cigna Health Insurance

Cigna Global Health Insurance.

Moving your family abroad can be intimidating, but learning about medical options such as family health insurance early on can help you settle successfully.

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  • Paediatric coverage for well-child visits & immunizations
  • Access to dental and orthodontic care
  • 24/7 multilingual Customer Service

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