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Old 31.05.2015, 10:37
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Live in Switzerland but need to use UK doctor and optician?

Hi All

I am resident here for 8 years and, since January 2015 am fully in the Swiss health system. I am still registered to a UK doctor, dentist and optician though and I have an address in the UK.

Can anyone advise if or how I can still use them from time to time? I have a Swiss doctor but for certain things I would still like to see the UK one as I have a great relationship and history. I assume that I shouldn't do it under the NHS - can I tell them that I am no longer resident in the UK and pay them privately? If so, can I claim costs back from my Swiss health insurance?

My optician has advised I should have a special test at a UK clinic after spotting potential signs of glaucoma. I really want to do this but don't want to use the NHS improperly.

All advice would be much welcomed

Richard
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Old 31.05.2015, 11:14
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Re: Live in Switzerland but need to use UK doctor and optician?

Normally you are only insured for emergency treatment abroad. If you wish to be treated normally in UK, you have the possibility to upgrade, at Sanitas it would be the 'Hospital Top Liberty'. It's not cheap, especially at an age over 50, but you could eventually change that later.

I understand, that it is difficult to trust a doctor in a foreign country, but to have a glaucoma treated should be not so much of a problem. By the way, are your teeth insured? Normally that would not be included. If so, you cold may be fill the gap by a partial insurance in UK.

Wish you success.
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Old 31.05.2015, 11:22
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Re: Live in Switzerland but need to use UK doctor and optician?

Thanks Josephine. I don't have any problem with my doctor here, he is great, but I could look at upgrading insurance. In the meantime, I would like to understand the position on the NHS though.

As to teeth, I do have an ongoing dental insurance in the UK. I need to check if the treatment is still NHS subsidised though as I wouldn't want to use benefits I might not be entitled to.
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Old 31.05.2015, 12:09
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Re: Live in Switzerland but need to use UK doctor and optician?

Legally you have de de-register with your GP as soon as you move abroad into another system, even if you still have an address in the UK (as we do). Your GP is till getting paid for you being on his list- despite the fact you are no longer legally allowed to use the NHS (unless in an emergency via EHIC).
So no, you are not entitled to NHS services- unless you go private and pay. We both have our eye tests done at the optician's every year in the UK, but we always pay.

There is enormous abuse by expats re the NHS- probably more than abuse by illegal immigrants, that is for sure, but it goes mainly un-detected. OH as a GP was offered substantial bribes on a regular basis (which he turned down of course) from expats returning for treatment.
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Old 31.05.2015, 12:57
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Re: Live in Switzerland but need to use UK doctor and optician?

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but I could look at upgrading insurance.
Just a heads-up, Richard.

Swiss supplemental insurance can be denied or limited due to pre-existing conditions, medical history, age, weight, etc. Easily obtained if one is young and healthy, not so much if one is older.

By the way, treatment by my opthalmologist here has been excellent - and covered by the basic insurance (subject to franchise and the 10% self-pay, of course.)
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Old 31.05.2015, 13:27
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Re: Live in Switzerland but need to use UK doctor and optician?

I know a lot of people that have offered to pay after saying they live abroad and the staff at the hospital or gp surgery just didn't know what to do and thus didn't charge.

I've heard they are cracking down on this and all hospital will have portable credit card machine now. But the NHS is still for everyone in an emergency

Last edited by porsch1909; 01.06.2015 at 17:34.
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Old 01.06.2015, 17:13
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Re: Live in Switzerland but need to use UK doctor and optician?

Thanks for that. It makes sense of course, so I will de-register from the GP now.
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Old 01.06.2015, 17:17
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Re: Live in Switzerland but need to use UK doctor and optician?

Hi Odile. That is a good thought on the opthalmologist. I have a copy of the retina scan so will follow that up here.

porsch1909, interesting what you say about abuse of the system. I know that emergency care is no problem with my Swiss insurance and can always pay for anything else if I really want to.

Thanks to all for your helpful posts
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Old 01.06.2015, 17:18
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Re: Live in Switzerland but need to use UK doctor and optician?

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I know a lot of people that have offered to pay after saying they live abroad and the staff at the hospital or gp surgery just didn't know what to do and thus didn't charge.
Including me a couple of times (both times just a quick GP visit). Second time, they knew how to do it, but said the effort wasn't worth it.
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