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Americans warned don’t moan about Britain’s NHS

Americans hoping to visit or live in the UK have been warned never to complain about our NHS.

US based health insurance broker International Citizens Insurance has told customers they should appreciate the role of the National Health Service in British society – and that means not moaning about waiting times.

The broker helps thousands of Americans relocate to other countries each year by advising on their insurance needs.

They say the UK has long been of the most popular destinations for Americans looking to live and work outside of the United States for a while.

As Covid restrictions ease they say higher numbers of workers could take advantage of remote working arrangements and base themselves in the UK while continuing to work for US companies.

Long term visitors from the USA are attracted to Britain as they don’t have to learn a new language, enjoy easy flight connections and have plenty of business opportunities.

The broker also admits that the UK healthcare system is a part of the appeal for Americans considering a move here.

They rank the UK as having the number one health care system in the entire world – far ahead of the USA’s own health care system which is ranked 11th.

But International Insurance’s experts advise their clients against taking the NHS for granted and say they should usually take out private medical insurance if coming to the UK.

A statement on the company’s website warns American customers: “If you’re coming to the UK on a temporary stay visa and that visa is for a term of more than six months, there’s good news.

“You’ll have to pay an immigration health surcharge during the application process. But it really is good news. It’s your gateway to access NHS primary care.

“However, it’s only a partial solution. There are some health care services under the NHS for which you have to pay a contribution like dental care, eye care, and prescriptions.

“You are also only covered for primary care. Secondary care (hospital-based care) is not included unless your status is ‘indefinite leave to remain’.

“However, expats should note that a common criticism of the UK Healthcare System or National Health Service is that waiting lists to see specialists are growing. Another is that there are not sufficient resources to run the system.

“The overall standard of health care in the UK remains excellent. The National Health Service is a cherished national institution.

“Expats from America who harp on about National Health Service waiting times may well find themselves rebuked about their own health care system. You’ve been warned.”

Joe Cronin, expert in international health insurance, said: “The UK has always been a popular destination for Americans and many other nationalities.

“With the pandemic now hopefully beginning to come under control many citizens are weighing up their options and considering relocation.

“Working remotely has opened up the world for many of us and we expect to see increasing numbers of Americans and Canadians choosing to relocate to the UK in the years to come.

“We wanted to be absolutely clear that while the UK offers a great standard of health care they should not take the NHS for granted and they must be respectful of its status as a British institution.

“One great way to respect the NHS is not to complain about waiting times so we decided to spell that out to our clients.”