NHS

0844 248 1715

The National Health Service provides mostly free healthcare to legal English residents. Run by the Department of Health and funded by the public through taxation, the NHS was the world’s first single-payer healthcare system.  Since the Labour government founded the NHS in 1948, there is no longer a unified British NHS. In 1999, the governments of the separate UK countries took control of their own NHS. Northern Ireland has Health and Social Care (HSC) rather than an NHS. Usually, when speaking about the NHS, people are referring to NHS England.

The NHS provides the majority of English healthcare, compared to 8% of the population which uses private healthcare. Services commissioned by the NHS include primary care, dental care, and eye care. Pharmacies, GPs, hospitals, and services for mental and sexual health also operate on behalf of the NHS. According to a 2016 Ipsos MORI survey, the NHS topped the list of reasons to be proud to be British.

NHS Contact Numbers

Remember that in an emergency, you need to call 999 directly. For non-emergency medical advice, you can call 111. Both these numbers operate 24/7. Otherwise, below is a list of helpline numbers you can use to contact different areas of the NHS. Opening hours do vary, so refer to this table for information on when you can call the helpline you need.

NHS
Phone Number
Opening Times
Customer Services
0844 248 1715
(Mon-Fri) 24/7
(Sat) 24/7
(Sun) 24/7
NHS England
0844 248 1716
(Mon-Fri)* 8am – 6pm
*(Wed) 9.30am – 6pm
(Sat-Sun) Closed
NHS Scotland
0844 248 1719
(Mon-Fri) 8am – 10pm
(Sat) 9am – 5pm
(Sun) 9am – 5pm
NHS Wales
0844 248 1721
(Mon-Fri) 24/7
(Sat) 24/7
(Sun) 24/7
NHS Digital
0844 248 1723
(Mon-Fri) 9am – 5pm
(Sat) Closed
(Sun) Closed
Health Careers
0844 453 0224
(Mon-Fri) 9am – 5.30pm
(Sat) Closed
(Sun) Closed
Bursaries
0843 208 1466
(Mon-Fri) 8am – 6pm
(Sat) 9am – 3pm
(Sun) Closed
Pensions
0843 208 1066
(Mon-Fri) 8am – 6pm
(Sat) Closed
(Sun) Closed

Customer Services

Serving as both a switchboard and a soundboard, call the 0844 248 1715 helpline for general information and advice. Customer services will locate details of GPs, hospitals, dentists and other NHS service providers for you upon request. They can transfer you through to the right place if you need more detailed and direct information. Call for assistance with anything from help with health costs to technical support, to get in touch with Carers Direct or even report NHS fraud.

NHS England

Any English citizens in need of further information about NHS services should contact the NHS on 0844 248 1716. Pass on your feedback and complaints regarding your experience with NHS services in England using this number. Bear in mind that NHS England only provides advice on primary care such as GPs, dentists, opticians, and pharmacies. You should refer to customer services for contact details for secondary care, including hospitals and out-of-hours services.

NHS Scotland

Scottish citizens can utilize the NHS Inform service by calling 0844 248 1719. This helpline exists to provide help and guidance relating to Scottish NHS services. These include tests and treatments, as well as care support and health rights. The team at the NHS Scotland helpline will talk you through the details of a particular service and how to access it. NHS Inform does not provide clinical services or medical advice; refer to 111 for advice on any non-life-threatening symptoms instead.

NHS Wales

Known as NHS Direct, in Wales people can contact the NHS through 0844 248 1721 at any time. Unlike NHS England and NHS Scotland, the NHS number functions the same as 111 in Wales. This means that you can also call the NHS Direct helpline for non-emergency medical advice. Give compliments and suggestions or make complaints about Welsh healthcare services by calling this number. If the line is busy, you can even arrange a call back for a suitable time within the next four hours.

NHS Digital

To be clear, this helpline does not offer any kind of clinical advice to the public. NHS Digital exists as a provider of data and IT services for patients and clinicians. The service collects, analyses, and protects national healthcare information for research purposes. This research leads to important changes in primary, hospital, and social care to make improvements. If you want to find published data, submit data, or have concerns about data security, contact NHS Digital on 0844 248 1723.

Health Careers

The Health Careers service offers over 350 careers in the NHS, across areas such as hospitals, dental surgeries, ambulance teams and pharmacies. Call 0844 453 0224 to find out how to register with Health Careers and receive advice on available NHS jobs and career planning. With plenty of entry points available for NHS careers, some do require higher education qualifications. Call this number for assistance finding the best course to study to help you reach your ideal job working for the NHS.

Bursaries

Some medical, dental and social work students may be eligible for an NHS Bursary, which would provide financial aid towards study costs. Call 0843 208 1466 to find out if you are eligible for an NHS Bursary and how to apply. Remember to check the deadlines for applications so you don’t miss out on funding support for the academic year. If you have any complaints regarding your NHS Bursary or want to report someone for bursary fraud, then you can also call this number to pass on the relevant information.

Pensions

When you join the NHS Pensions Scheme, contributions will be deducted from your income to go towards your NHS Pension. Call 0843 208 1066 to discuss your eligibility and joining the scheme, or even leaving it if you choose to. Whether you are a member of the scheme or an employer administering it, you can call this number for assistance. NHS Pension Scheme benefits don’t need to be transferred if you change NHS employers within England and Wales, but Scotland and Northern Ireland have their own schemes.

Other Ways to Contact the NHS

While the NHS in each country does have an active Twitter account, the volume of online traffic makes responses unlikely. The NHS monitors the NHS Choices Twitter on weekdays, but again it’s not the best place to get speedy advice. You can always browse the abundance of health information provided on the NHS website. Or if you have a general query relating to NHS services in England, e-mail it to england.contactus@nhs.net.

Lastly, you can contact the NHS by post. Direct your general enquiries to NHS England at the address in the following table. For more specific correspondence, you should call one of the helplines above and request the particular postal address so that you can contact the NHS department. Do not rely on these options if your issue relates to urgent medical care.

Department
Address
NHS England General Address
NHS England
PO Box 16738
Redditch
B97 9PT