Under Access in the Charter of Patient Rights and Responsibilities, you have a right to:
- use NHS services free of charge
- have your needs taken into account
- expect your Health Board to assess the local community’s health needs
- treatment in other European Economic Area (EEA) countries
- request support to access NHS services
- be registered with a GP practice
- receive inpatient or day case treatment within 12 weeks of agreeing to it
Cost of NHS services
The majority of NHS services are provided free of charge, including:
- GP practices
- local pharmacies
- emergency services
- eye examinations
- dental examinations
Services that you may have to pay for include:
- NHS dental treatments (in most cases)
- glasses and contact lenses (in most cases)
You can find out more about accessing NHS dental and eye treatment in the following pages:
Information about health costs
In Scotland, most NHS treatment is free, although there can be charges for some things. You are entitled to certain NHS items and services free of charge if you are:
The Scottish Government also provide information about health costs and entitlement in the following publications:
Your health needs
Your Health Board must take your needs into account but must also consider the rights of other patients.
You must never be refused access because of your:
- religion or belief
- sexual orientation
- gender reassignment
- marriage or civil partnership
- pregnancy or maternity
You have the right that your local Health Board will assess the local community’s health needs and provide services to meet its needs.
Treatment in Europe
Under European Union (EU) arrangements, you have the right to go to other European Economic Area (EEA) countries for treatment.
You also have the right to have your prescription dispensed in another EEA country subject to certain criteria.
Find out more about having medical treatment in Europe
Support when accessing NHS services
You have the right to request support to access NHS services. This could be:
- someone else present at an appointment
- an interpreter or a sign-language interpreter, or other communication support
- an independent advocate if you have a mental health disorder
- a hospital chaplain
- transport to get to a hospital or clinic appointment
You can find out what support services are available to you through the Patient Advice and Support Service (PASS)
Registering with a GP practice
Every person in Scotland has the right and the responsibility to register with a GP.
Your GP is usually your main point of access to medical services and referrals to hospital.
Find out how you to register with a GP
Treatment within 12 weeks
Patients who are due to receive treatment have a right to receive the treatment within 12 weeks from the date they agree to the treatment.
This is known as the Treatment Time Guarantee and forms part of NHS Scotland's waiting times service.
Find out more about waiting times