Mar 09 2011

Medical Reciprocal Scheme between UK and Australia

The Australian Government has signed Reciprocal Health Care Agreements (RHCA) with the government of the United Kingdom, which entitles you to limited subsidised health services for medically necessary treatment while visiting Australia.

Medically necessary treatment means any ill-health or injury which occurs while you are in Australia and requires treatment before you return home.

Under this scheme you are entitled to the following for any ill-health or injury requiring treatment while in Australia:

  • free treatment as a public in-patient or outpatient in a public hospital
  • subsidised medicines under the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme
  • Medicare benefits for out-of-hospital medical treatment provided by doctors through private surgeries and community health centres.

You can enrol at Medicare offices throughout Australia.

To enrol in Medicare you will need:

  • your passport with a valid visa
  • identification showing you are enrolled in your country’s national health scheme.

Approved applicants will then receive an Australian reciprocal health care card.

If you are treated as a public patient in a public hospital for medically necessary treatment, the treatment is free. Simply show your passport or reciprocal health care card to staff when you arrive at the hospital.

If you receive treatment before you enrol, Medicare benefits can be claimed back paid for eligible visitors.

Medicare: Visitors to Australia – United Kingdom, Sweden, Finland, Norway, the Netherlands, Belgium, Malta and Italy

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  1. Roslyn Adcock

    There is lots of information about visitors to Australia, but what about Australians going overseas, and their chances of receiving reciprocal health care?

    1. ABCDiamond

      The UK gives reciprocal health care to Australians visiting the country. Have a look at: http://www.smartraveller.gov.au/zw-cgi/view/Advice/United_Kingdom

      We have a reciprocal agreement on health services with the United Kingdom that allows Australian citizens and permanent residents to obtain free medical treatment under the National Health Service (NHS) in certain circumstances. This agreement does not cover other countries in the European Union.
      Australians travelling to the UK for less than three months who wish to seek treatment under the reciprocal agreement first need to contact the NHS to check whether they are eligible for treatment under the agreement (telephone 0845 4647 or http://www.nhsdirect.nhs.uk ). Please note that Australians who have been in the United Kingdom for less than three months are unable to register at a local doctor’s surgery for NHS treatment. Should medical assistance be required, you should go to the accident and emergency department at the nearest NHS hospital for treatment. Should hospital admission or specialist consultations be required, this can only be arranged by a doctor.

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