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Information » Health » Health Services » Hospitals


NHS (National Health Service) hospital treatment is free in the UK.

Unless it is an emergency and you need to be treated in the accident and emergency (A&E) department, you cannot walk into a hospital for treatment. Instead, a doctor will usually refer you.

Going to hospital can be a scary experience but the doctors and nurses are there to help you so don’t be afraid to talk to them and share any concerns.

As a hospital patient, you have certain rights including:

  • Confidentiality
  • Refusing to be treated by medical students
  • Seeing your medical notes
  • Having a second opinion
  • Being referred to a specialist
  • Refusing to take part in research trials
  • Being informed about your health and all treatment options
  • Having a friend or relative with you
  • Having an interpreter or signer to help you

There are some things you might want to think about taking with you if you are going into hospital, such as:

  • Mobile phone (you are only allowed to use it in certain areas)
  • Contact details of friends and family
  • Any regular medicines
  • Nightwear
  • Underwear
  • Toiletries
  • Books and magazines
  • Games and puzzles
  • Pen and paper
  • Food or snacks (check with your doctor what you can and cannot eat)

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