Thu | Feb 2, 2023

Seeking medical attention in the UK

Published:Tuesday | February 2, 2010 | 12:00 AM

Dear Mr Bassie,

I HAVE an illness which, I understand, there is some cutting-edge treatment for in the United Kingdom. I am thinking of seeking private medical treatment there. Please advise me whether it is possible for me to seek the treatment as a visitor entering the United Kingdom.

I am looking forward to your response.

- Stanley

Dear Stanley,

I am sorry to hear about your illness. In order for you to be able to enter the UK for private medical treatment, you must first be able to show that you can, at least, meet the requirements to enter the country as a visitor.

There are other criteria that must be met if you are afflicted with a communicable disease; you must show there is no danger to public health. You must be able to show that your course of treatment is for a limited period of time and that you have made satisfactory travel arrangements for consultation/treatment you are planning to receive. Furthermore, you will need to show you have enough money to pay for the treatment and that you have adequate financing to support yourself, without having to work or seek recourse to public funds while there. And, you have to show you intend to leave the UK at the end of your treatment.

Prepare the paperwork

You should be aware there are certain documents you need to take with you when travelling to the UK, seeking private medical treatment. Although it may not be possible to take all, it would be helpful if you could carry as many as possible.

If you are employed, you would need to provide a letter from your employer, granting leave of absence from your job for a specified period. The letter should say what has been your length of employment with the employer and in what capacity. If you are self-employed, you should show evidence of the business and its current financial standing. You may want to provide bank statements that cover several months and evidence of funds available to pay for your treatment. It would be helpful if you are able to show you have social and/or family ties and any other type of responsibilities that necessitate your return home. Also, if you own any property, it would help if you provided evidence supporting this.

Get doctor's referral

If you are currently enrolled as a student, you should provide a letter from your school/college stating which course of study you are pursuing and its starting and ending dates and, if applicable, the dates of the holiday period during which you intend to visit the UK for the treatment.

It is also advisable to provide any proof you may have that shows any travel plans that have been made.

Lastly, you will need to get a letter from the general practitioner - who is a consultant for the UK National Health Service or who is on the specialist register for the UK General Medical Council - who will confirm that proper and satisfactory arrangements have been made for your private medical treatment. The letter should also state how long the treatment should last and whether the treatment has already started and any sort of progress that may be reported on.

I wish you all the best and a speedy recovery.

John S. Bassie is a barrister/ attorney-at-law who practises in Jamaica. He is a Supreme Court-appointed mediator and a Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators. Email: or