EU nationals can obtain free emergency treatment (and, in some cases, reduced-cost healthcare) on presentation of a European Health Insurance Card (www.ehic.org.uk). It's still too early to say what will happen to the EHIC card after the UK leaves the EU, but it would be advisable to check before travelling to London.
Reciprocal arrangements with the UK allow Australians, New Zealanders and residents and nationals of several other countries to receive free emergency medical treatment and subsidised dental care through the National Health Service. They can use hospital emergency departments, GPs and dentists. For a full list visit the 'Services near you' section of the NHS website, www.nhs.uk.
The NHS non-emergency number is 111 (this is not the number to call for life-threatening situations; for that call 999). It's for medical advice and help, and is free of charge and available 24 hours a day, every day of the year.
Visitors staying 12 months or longer, with the proper documentation, will receive care under the NHS by registering with a specific practice near their residence.
Travel insurance is advisable for non-EU residents as it offers greater flexibility over where and how you’re treated and covers expenses for an ambulance and repatriation that will not be picked up by the NHS.
A number of hospitals have 24-hour accident and emergency departments. However, in an emergency just call an ambulance and one will normally be dispatched from the hospital nearest to you.
The main pharmacy chains in London are Boots and Superdrug; a branch of either – or both – can be found on virtually every high street. If you need prescription drugs such as antibiotics or sleeping pills, you will need to see a doctor for a prescription.
The Boots in Piccadilly Circus is one of the biggest and most centrally located and has extended opening times.
London tap water is drinkable and is generally of high quality. Many diners at restaurants ask for tap water.
No vaccinations are required for visits to London. For more information, check with your medical provider in your home country before you travel.