Seeking private medical treatment in the UK from abroad

Occasionally Immunodeficiency UK receives emails from families that live abroad enquiring about the possibility of seeking private medical treatment in the UK. This resource aims to answer some of your questions about accessing adult and paediatric services provided by immunology centres in the UK.

Accessing care

If you live in a non-European Economic Area (EEA) country, consult this guide to reciprocal healthcare agreements for visitors to the UK. Note, however, that many reciprocal agreements do not cover expensive treatments.

Contact the immunology centre whose services you wish to access and submit a referral request. The centre will need to know the name of the doctor and any other medical professionals involved in giving current care. If you or your child has a chronic health condition, ask your local healthcare provider what treatment you are entitled to before organising your travel to the UK.

Adult centres

A list of UK clinical immunologist centres according to their geographical location can be found here.

Paediatric care

There are two highly specialised paediatric immunology centres in the UK; both are also transplantation centres of excellence. Their details are given at the end of this resource. Information about other clinics can be found here.

Paying for private care

There are several ways that you can pay for private investigations and treatment in the UK.

From your own funds (self-pay)

You will receive an estimate of the expected cost of the appointment and/or treatment before you travel and again when you visit the hospital. On admission to hospital, you will need to sign the estimate and pay the amount of money stated.

Sponsorship through your home country’s embassy

If your home country’s embassy is sponsoring the healthcare you or your child will receive, you must make sure that you have a letter of guarantee. The letter must state clearly that the embassy will cover the total cost of care and refer to any exclusions preventing full payment.

On entry to the UK, you may be required to register your arrival with your home country’s embassy (seek advice before you travel), and you will need to present the letter of guarantee to the hospital when you book and attend your hospital appointment.

Third-party sponsors

You will have to provide confirmation if a third party is paying for your appointment and/or treatment. The required amount of money must be deposited in the bank account specified by the hospital that you or your child will be attending, before hospital admission.

Medical insurance

If you are paying for your investigations and treatment through medical insurance, you will have to supply confirmation of the cover before being seen in hospital. You will need to notify, check and get confirmation from the insurance company about what it will cover, before you or your child attend the hospital. Pay attention to any exclusion or maximum benefits/limits. Some insurers exclude high-cost treatments, so it is important to check with them before booking any hospital appointments.

Be prepared to state the name of the insurance company and your policy number on arrival at the hospital.

Some medical insurance companies have arrangements with hospitals that allow them to pay a hospital directly for the care you or your child receives. If no such arrangement is in place, you will need to pay the amount in advance and reclaim the money from your medical insurance company later. We advise that you check the specific payment details with both your insurance company and the hospital.

What happens on arrival at the hospital?

You will be asked to sign a declaration (registration) confirming that you will need to pay the hospital the estimated costs yourself if you have no sponsor. You will also need to provide photographic identification, which is a passport for non-UK residents, and proof of your address.

You must deal with any deposits, payments or pre-authorisation before you travel to the UK. If you don’t, the hospital admission or appointment can be cancelled, even if a booking has been confirmed.

What happens if additional treatment is needed?

The estimate you received will have been compiled based on the referral that was sent to the consultant before the admission to hospital. If additional treatment is needed, you will be charged more.

If the treatment is non urgent, you will be asked if you want to go ahead with it. If you do, you’ll be referred to the billing department to pay for it. If the treatment is urgent, the hospital will most likely proceed without delay.

Specialist paediatric immunology centres in the UK

Great North Children’s Hospital

Institute of Cellular Medicine

Paediatric Immunology Department

c/o Ward 3

Great North Children’s Hospital

Queen Victoria Road

Newcastle upon Tyne



Dr Andrew Gennery, Consultant

Tel: +44 (0) 191 282 5234

Fax: +44 (0) 191 273 0183


Lesley Waugh, Private and International Patient Services Manager

Tel: +44 (0) 191 282 0592



Great Ormond Street Hospital for Children

International and Private Patients Service

The Harris International Patient Centre

The Octav Botnar Wing

Great Ormond Street




International Private Patients Service

Tel: +44 (0)20 7762 6822

Fax: +44 (0)20 7762 6743



Lorraine Clark, Commercial Services Manager (for cost enquiries)

Tel: +44 (0)20 7829 8612 or 07787 893728


Great Ormond Street Hospital also has an office in the United Arab Emirates, which will refer you to the UK hospital for stem cell transplantation:

Great Ormond Street Hospital for Children

International and Private Patients Service

Dubai Health Care City

PO Box 505050


United Arab Emirates

Tel: +971 4 3624722



Posted September 2018