Unit 11.1

Health and Hygiene: Health centres


Types of centres for health assistance

  • Hospitals provide patients with high-quality trained staff and medical equipment. There can be different types of hospitals like general/district ones which are the main health centre in their region or specialized ones that take care of the certain type of patients or deal with certain medical conditions.
    • Outpatient clinics are a part of a hospital where people waiting for diagnosis or treatment are taken care of. Those people do not require a bed or overnight care.
    • Minor injuries units are units in hospitals that take people in on walk-in basis. They can treat minor injuries.
  • University hospital clinics are institutions that combine medical treatment with educational purposes for students and medical research.
  • Urgent treatment centres are open for 12 h a day every day. Appointments can be made by the NHS 111 number or by GP referral. They are equipped to deal with common problems with which people are going to Accidents and Emergency departments in the hospital.
  • The clinic is a smaller facility than a hospital and covers usually primary healthcare. They can be both private and public. Some of them can be specialized in the specific medic area.
  • Walk-in centre is a place where a patient is taken in on a walk-in basis without an appointment. They provide poor quality healthcare. Opening and closing hours may vary but centres are operating for a whole week including Sundays.
  • Day centres are places run by social services, a healthcare organisation or a voluntary organisation, which provides care, mental stimulation and activities for individuals who need support during the day.
  • A pharmacy is a place in which people can buy medicine. Pharmacists can advise with treating minor problems like sore throats, headaches or travel health. They are open during bank holidays but in different hours than usual.

Concepts of health centres and outpatient clinics:

  • Outpatient clinics are a department of the hospital where people waiting for diagnosis or treatment are taken care of. Those people do not require a bed or overnight care.
    • People come here if they have been referred to the hospital but do not need to stay overnight.
    • You can choose to both an outpatient clinic that you want to visit and a consultant-led team that will be in charge of your treatment.
    • You will receive an admission letter from the hospital once your appointment is confirmed.
    • GP usually provides the hospital with health record but in an emergency case, you should be prepared to provide doctors with your health history.
    • Delays can happen since clinics staff can be called to an emergency.
  • The community health centre is a network of clinics usually staffed by GP and nurses. They provide healthcare for a certain area. Typically they cover services like dental services and family practice. Some of them can have visiting specialists who can perform preventative checks.
    • General practitioners (GP) are the first contact for NHS patients.
      • Anyone in England can register and consult with a GP without charge.
      • GP practices cannot refuse a patient because they do not have identification or proof of address.
      • If a person is visiting the UK and is treated as a private patient then any prescription would also be private and would have to be paid for privately.

Benefits of the NHS

  • Hospital treatment is free for people registered as an ordinary resident.
    • All other patients are charged for the treatment, except that treatment that is free to all.
      • Non-EEA nationals who are subject to immigration control must have the immigration status of indefinite leave to remain at the time of treatment and be properly settled, to be considered ‘ordinarily resident.’
    • Charges for overseas visitors for NHS hospital care:
      • From 1 January 2021, EEA/Swiss visitors may not be covered for healthcare as they are now and may become chargeable.
      • People who live outside the EEA and Switzerland, including former UK residents, are not automatically entitled to free NHS care.
      • People living in the EU whose healthcare costs are funded by the UK under the current EU arrangements will be entitled to free NHS hospital treatment in England.
      • There are some exemptions when it comes to charges that Brexit does not change:
        • People with granted refugee status.
        • People seeking asylum.
        • People receiving support from the Home Office under section 95 of the Immigration and Asylum Act 1999.
        • Failed asylum seeker receiving support from the Home Office under certain sections, from a local authority or are under Part 1 of the Care Act 2014.
        • Children looked after by a local authority.
        • People identified, or suspected of being, a victim of modern slavery or human trafficking.
        • People detained in prison or by the immigration authorities.
        • NATO personnel.
      • An overseas visitor who has been subjected to certain types of violence must not be charged for treatment.
  • Free to all treatment currently covers:
    • Accident and emergency services.
    • Services provided for the diagnosis and treatment of some communicable diseases.
    • Diagnosis and treatment of sexually transmitted infections.
    • Family planning services.
    • Services for the treatment of a physical or mental condition caused by torture, female genital mutilation, domestic violence or sexual violence.
    • Palliative care services provided by a registered palliative care charity or a community interest company.
    • Services that are provided as part of the NHS 111 telephone advice line.


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