Ukrainian residents with MS relocating to the UK | Country-specific information

09.05.2022

Country-specific information for Ukrainian residents with MS relocating to the UK

UK MS Society Contact Details
  • Name: MS Helpline
  • Phone: 0808 800 8000
  • Email: helpline@mssociety.org.uk
  • Language: English
  • Ukrainian and Russian interpreters sometimes available through Language Line (please ask helpline colleagues who for support and they can guide them to an interpreter)
National governmental website explaining the administrative procedure for migrants who want to enter the country or who are seeking asylum in the country.  
Several different options on application and requirements are outlined in the immigration information guidance: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/immigration-information-for-ukrainians-in-the-uk-british-nationals-and-their-family-members Note: Requirements differ slightly depending on people’s circumstances (e.g. whether family members are hoping to join people in the UK).
  • All Ukrainians arriving in the UK are able to access NHS healthcare free of charge, including GP and nurse consultations, hospital services, and urgent care centres.
  • They will also be offered free COVID-19 vaccines and medical screenings. This includes any Ukrainian who:
  1. uses an alternative temporary visa route outside of the family or sponsorship routes
  2. is on a family or sponsored route to England
  3. chooses to extend their visit or seasonal worker visa temporarily, without going through the immigration health surcharge system
  4. is in the process of switching visas
  • This covers any NHS treatment that started on or after 24 February 2022, the date the full-scale Russian invasion began, providing support to as many people as possible.
  • The exemption regulations are due to be reviewed 6 months after their introduction in March 2022. Ukrainian residents in the UK unlawfully are not covered by these measures.
  • The government is clear however that urgent treatment will not be withheld – even when the visitor has indicated that they cannot pay.
  • Free healthcare for those accompanying people medically evacuated to the UK for treatment will be limited to needs that arise during their stay: pre-existing conditions that worsen and those which develop in the UK.
  • Further information on the legislation and policy can be found on the Government's website
  • The best first step to accessing healthcare in the UK is to register with a General Practitioner (GP).
  • The government strongly recommends that people register with a GP as soon as possible after they arrive in the UK.
  • Everyone has a right to register with a GP and you do not need proof of address, immigration status, ID or an NHS number (you may be asked to provide ID but it is not a requirement).
  • You can also register temporarily if you expect to be in an area for more than 24 hours but less than 3 months.
  • If you have ID this can help make sure your name is spelled correctly in your NHS records. An NHS England letter to help those without an NHS number to get a coronavirus vaccine and register with a GP can be found in Ukrainian and in English

What documents are needed to apply for medical insurance for Ukrainian refugees?

  • Anyone in the UK can choose to register with a GP. The GP is the first doctor to see when accessing healthcare and can help with access to other healthcare services.
  • You may be asked for proof of your address or ID. If you don’t have proof of your address or ID, tell them you don’t have it. You can still register with a GP. If you have proof of address and ID, try and provide it if you can.
  • You can show this letter to the GP practice when you register, if helpful.
  • People should not be asked about your immigration status when registering with a GP. To find your nearest GP service and for more information please see here.
  • Information on how to register with a GP surgery in Scotland is available here

Duration of obtaining medical insurance

  • The National Health Service (NHS) provides health services to people living in the UK. Most of these services are free at the point of access.
  • Refugees and asylum seekers have access to the NHS even without ID, confirmation of address or immigration status, and the government has a migrant health guide available with a language interpreting and translation guide.
  • Anyone can register with a GP, registration is usually completed on the same day.

Coverage of medical insurance (including treatments for MS?)

  • Most NHS health services are free at the point of access. This includes routine and emergency physical and mental healthcare.
  • However, there is normally a small charge for prescriptions which is requested when collecting prescribed medication from a pharmacy. Prescriptions are provided free of charge if you meet certain requirements. There is some variation in what prescriptions are provided depending on where in the UK you are living, but in general, your prescription will be free if you are:
  1. Age 60 or over
  2. Age 16 or under
  3. Age 16 to 18 and in full-time education
  4. Pregnant (or have had a baby in the previous 12 months)
  5. An inpatient receiving care in an NHS hospital
  • This list is not exhaustive;
  • free prescriptions may also be available if you have certain specified medical conditions or a continuing physical disability. This may be the case for certain treatments for MS. If you think this may apply to you, you should ask your GP who will be able to provide you with advice.
  • As well as providing you with any prescribed medication, a pharmacist can also give you free advice on treating minor health problems, such as colds and coughs. Some very common medications, such as painkillers and cough medicines, are available for sale over the counter. You will not need a prescription for these types of medication, but you will have to pay for them yourself.
  • If someone is on a low income, they may be eligible to apply to the NHS low income scheme for help with health costs such as prescriptions, dental care and eyesight tests. Individuals can ask their GP practice about this or apply online

Where can people get specialised MS care?

  • To access specialised MS care, it’s best that a person with MS speaks to a MS specialist, like a neurologist who has many patients with MS.
  • Only an MS specialist can give you advice on treating MS and prescribe drugs.
  • To see a MS specialist, people with MS can ask their GP to refer them to one or to book an appointment with them

What treatments for Multiple Sclerosis are available in the UK?

  • Several different treatments for MS are available across the country.
  • The type of treatment offered to a person with MS will usually be discussed and agreed with a MS specialist, like a neurologist. An MS nurse can also talk about treatments in general. Only an MS specialist can give advice on treating MS and prescribe drugs.
  • To see a MS specialist, people with MS can ask their GP to refer them to one or to book an appointment with them.
  • Some treatments help with the symptoms of MS, while others control MS itself.
  • Treatments available include over a dozen disease modifying therapies (DMTs) licensed to treat relapsing and some forms of progressive MS.
  • Several other treatment options are available. More information on the various treatment options is available here

Do pharmaceutical companies allow/support patients to continue a clinical study which they started in Ukraine?

  • Awaiting response

Where and how can Ukrainian refugees apply to get official disabled status in the UK?

  • There is currently no national register of people with disabilities.
  • Some local authorities may operate voluntary registers in their areas.
  • These voluntary registers are used by local authorities to plan future services.
  • Registration does not automatically give entitlement to benefits.
  • The state provides basic means-tested welfare benefit payments for people who are unable to work, who are looking for work but have not yet found a job, or who are on a low income. This is called Universal Credit. This can be applied for through Jobcentre Plus or online.

Are there any benefits available for people with disabilities?

  • The state provides financial support to help with the extra costs of living with a disability of long-term health condition. This is called Personal Independence Payment (PIP) and is not means-tested.
  • To find out you are eligible for PIP you must make a claim and go through a PIP assessment where you will be required to fill out a form and provide evidence of the impact of your condition or disability on daily life and mobility.
  • If more evidence is required you may have to have an assessment over the phone or face to face at an assessment centre.