5 reasons UK expats should get healthcare help from home

Moving abroad broadens your horizons. You try new food, learn a new language, and acclimatise to a country’s cultural quirks. But there are some things you don’t want to change – like feeling that your healthcare is in good hands.

5 reasons UK expats should get healthcare help from home
Photo: Pixabay

Navigating the health care system in another country can be tough, and even when it all works out, sometimes you just miss the comfort of the system back home.

Luckily, there are options that can help ease that uncertainty – no matter how far away from home you are.

“My Clinical Coach is a service which gives expats support and reassurance even if they are thousands of miles away from the UK,” says Wendy Norton, Director of Clinical and Customer Operations at the company.

“We help people who are worried about their own health, either with long-term medical conditions or undiagnosed symptoms, regain control of their lives. Our clinical health coaches have helped thousands of people make life-changing improvements to their lives through personalised treatment programmes.”

My Clinical Coach provides a more holistic approach to care, empowering and emotionally supporting patients to improve their own health and wellbeing.   

“That’s why doctors, patient organisations and, most importantly, the people we help, trust us,” says Norton.  “Whether they just feel a little unsure about what health issues they have or if they have a long-term condition, the clinical health coach is there when they need them.”

Health coaching is not a new concept.  The approach has seen success in America, Australia, Spain and Scandinavian nations for example – but specific, tailored nurse-led Clinical Health Coaching for patients with long term conditions has until now not been widely used in the UK or by British citizens living abroad. 

But the potential benefits are massive. Haven’t heard of it? Here are just a few reasons why you should consider signing up for My Clinical Coach today.

1. It’s in English

Doctor's offices are places full of jargon – and that can be extra tough in a foreign language. “It is really difficult to describe things like pain or odd anatomical occurrences when you only have a limited vocabulary in a foreign language,” says UK expat Tara.

“Similarly, if it was a question of managing something like diabetes with diet and exercise etc., it might be handy to have an English speaker explain it all and coach you through it so that you really understood what it was all about.”

My Clinical Coach gives you just that: a fellow native English speaker who can coach you through every step, whether it's managing a long-term condition or just helping you double check symptoms and medication in English.

2. It’s tailored

You never know what you might get abroad. Many health care facilities seem to offer one-size-fits all treatments, and you’ll frequently get a different doctor every time you visit.

With My Clinical Coach you always know who you’re talking to – and they know you.

 “Essentially it provides the patient with an expert friend,” Norton explains.

The nurses at My Clinical Coach won’t just ask you what’s the matter – they’ll ask what matters to you. It’s not just medical – it’s personal.

 “These expert friends are experienced nurses who can help with any condition, from diabetes to lung disease to heart disease and so forth,” Norton adds, “And they are in constant contact with their patients, supporting them, motivating them, helping with nutrition, and noticing behavioural changes. They can help with any worries patients may have around their own health, whether it’s getting a new diagnosis, a change in existing condition or being on new medication.”

3. Skip long waiting lines to see a doctor or a nurse

Sometimes seeing the doctor comes down to a matter of time.

“I recall that there was a really long waiting list when I wanted to see a county dermatologist, and it was really hard to get a private consultation without having insurance,” says James, a UK expat living in Sweden.

“It was really hard to find anyone who would see you. I ended up getting a video consultation with a British consultant instead.”

While My Clinical Coach doesn’t work specifically with dermatology, the same principle rings true if you’re waiting to see a doctor or nurse – you can skip the lines and get the help you need quickly.

4. They do what some healthcare systems can’t

My Clinical Coach is a private healthcare service delivered by highly trained and experienced nurses.

“We provide ongoing support from a specialist nurse who can really get to know you. My Clinical Coach was born out of the idea that the NHS provides good service, but that there’s a gap in the market,” Norton explains.

“When someone has a long-term condition. they don’t always get all the support and information they need, and they have to go out looking for it. Or perhaps they are unable to develop a strong relationship with their nurse.”

This means that patients might not have the opportunities to ask all their questions, little questions that may make a big difference to their life.

“At My Clinical Coach, we provide you with your own personal expert nurse who will help understand your own health, resulting in better control and management of your long-term condition,” Norton says. “Your expert nurse may even solve problems you did not realise you had, or that you didn’t know could be solved.”

5.  Don’t worry about residency issues

There’s no place quite like home – especially when you need medical help.

Living abroad with a serious health condition can be frightening and can add major stress to your life.

“Getting to grips with the local system and understanding what’s best for your own health and wellbeing can be intimidating. But it doesn’t have to be like that,” Norton says.

Plus, recently the NHS has been clamping down on rules saying that the moment a British citizen has moved out of the UK, they lose their right to NHS treatment. New rules say that you must be 'ordinarily resident' in the country to use NHS services.

But with My Clinical Coach it doesn’t matter what your residency is. No matter how long you’ve been abroad, you can get the health coaching you want straight from the UK.

“We have a patient in France, for instance, who was worried about a pre-diagnosis and wanted some reassurance and support. He couldn’t come back to the UK and get that kind of support anymore, so he turned to My Clinical Coach,” Norton says. “We’re there for you no matter where you are.”

Considering My Clinical Coach? Find out more here.

This article was produced by The Local and sponsored by My Clinical Coach. 



For members


How do I get a European Health Insurance Card in Austria?

An European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) provides EU residents with access to public healthcare across the bloc. Here’s what you need to know about getting an EHIC in Austria.

How do I get a European Health Insurance Card in Austria?

A big advantage of living in Europe is the ability to travel to so many different countries.

But sometimes accidents or illness can happen while on holiday or a work trip, which can mean an unplanned visit to a doctor.

READ ALSO: Austria recommends 4th Covid vaccine dose for everyone over 12

Thankfully, the European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) provides some protection against expensive medical bills in the form of reciprocal healthcare. 

Here’s what you need to know about the EHIC and how to get the card in Austria.

What is an EHIC?

An EHIC is a form of medical insurance cover and replaces the international health insurance voucher (form E111). It is issued free of charge and allows holders to access state-provided medical care while temporarily in another EU country. 

It works on a reciprocal basis through a country’s social security system and care is provided at the same cost as those insured in the country (which means it can be free, in some cases).

This means that if you have an e-card and are insured with one of the public health insurances in Austria, such as ÖGK, for example, you are entitled to the EHIC and to access public health services (to a certain extent) in other countries.

FOR MEMBERS: What is Austria’s e-card and what do you need to know about it?

The EHIC is valid in all 27 EU countries, as well as Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway, Switzerland, Macedonia, Serbia, Montenegro, Bosnia and Herzegovina, and the UK.

However, the EHIC is not an alternative to comprehensive travel insurance as it doesn’t cover any private healthcare costs, a flight home or lost/stolen property.

Why do I need an EHIC in Austria?

The main advantage of having an EHIC is if you need medical treatment while briefly travelling in another country.

While the coverage is limited to state-provided healthcare, it does mean you will be treated by a doctor and not liable to pay non-resident medical fees.

READ NEXT: How Austria is making it easier for non-EU workers to get residence permits

Austria’s e-card – the national insurance card – is needed for almost all medical procedures. On the back, it contains the EHIC Ecard image: Wikicommons

How do I get an EHIC?

EHICs are issued by the national health country provider of the country where you live. This could be, for example, the ÖGK or SVA, depending on which provider you use in Austria.

In Austria, every e-card (the health insurance card that is used to visit a doctor) already contains an EHIC on the reverse of the card, so there is no need to apply for it separately. 

However, if the data fields on the EHIC on the back of your e-card contains stars (***) instead of personal information such as name and date of birth, further documentation is required to access healthcare in another EU country.

In this case, you need to contact your social security provider in Austria to receive a replacement card before you travel.

The EHIC is only valid on the condition that you are insured or co-insured in Austria.

Useful words 

Social insurance – Sozialversicherung

Travel insurance – Reiseversicherung

Healthcare – Gesundheitspflege

Useful links

European Commission

Austrian social insurance