Moving from Canada to UK - What is the process to see a neurologist?


I currently live in Canada, but will be moving to London within the next 3-6 months. I was diagnosed with remitting/relapsing MS in 2003, and have been on treatment since 2004. I am currently on Beteferon (marketed as Beteseron in the Canada).

Has anyone here gone through moving to the UK from another country?

I’m hoping to find out what the process is to be referred to a neurologist, and ultimately get a prescription for Beteferon so that I may continue my treatment. Also, if anyone has such experience, what should I do ahead of time to prepare for a potential lapse in my treatment while getting registered with NHS.

Thanks for anyone with insight on this!

  • Jeff

First thing would be to register with a local GP, get an appointment with the GP, go through your medical history and ask the GP for a referral to see a neuro who specialises in MS.

Probably take a little while for your referral appointment to come through, (NHS waiting lists are a nightmare).

If you’ve already been on certain meds and have a record of such meds I would imagine the local GP might prescribe more until your neuro referral come through ?

Try if possible to get a thorough up to date record of your meds to show your new local GP, ask your own GP at the moment to list everything, date and sign it.

Hope this might be useful ?

Do some research ahead of time as to where yout local GP is, and whether they are taking on new patients. London has a high volume of hospitals BUT also high population. The GP will refer you to the nearest neuro. Bring as much of your meds with you as you can.

There will most likely be a delay while the UK GP chases your notes. If you have details, or can get details of your medical history from your present doctor, bring them!

Remember Jeff; all medication prescribed by a doctor is free for people living in the UK.

Most people working pay something called National Insurance; nowhere near the amount of insurance you pay in Canada; and comes directly from your wages.

If you don’t work you still get the NHS; which I think arguably; is the best system in the world.

As others have said your GP will arrange everything. Try and find out who it will be before you arrive and get your name down.


1 Like

Thank you for your comments. This certainly helps. Getting records from my current neurologist shouldn’t be a problem. The issue will be getting a supply of Betaseron to last me long enough through the transition. I have health insurance that covers the cost of the medication, but I have to get permission to order more than a month’s supply at a time. Two months is doable – I did it once before when I had travel plans that overlapped the next month’s supply running out. Three month’s worth might be a stretch, but it sounds like that should cover me from other research that I’ve done.

there is a lovely chap called paolo smythe who posts on here.

he came here from canada and maybe could advise you.

carole x

I’m not sure that a GP can prescribe Betaferon. Some years ago I wasn’t getting on with my neurologist and I asked my MS nurse if I could change to a different one. She told me that neurologists need approval to prescribe DMDs, and the one I was seeing was the only one in the area with that approval. The drugs are supplied by specific companies, not from your local pharmacy, so it may not be as simple as getting a prescription from a GP.

To clarify one point, DMDs like Betaferon are free in the UK. Other medication may not be, depending on where you live, and on your circumstances - employment, other health conditions, age. Prescriptions are free in Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland, but not in England, which is crazy.

I think though once your neuro has written to your GP and ok’d a drug your GP then can prescribe that drug.

My GP has actually said, once the neuro ok’s a drug he/she can prescribe it.

Even if it has to be ordered into a local pharmacy.

Thats how it has been for me here in Wales !


Remember Jeff; all medication prescribed by a doctor is free for people living in the UK.

I’m afraid Jeff that George was not quite accurate in that. Medication prescribed has to be paid for. There are certain exemptions see .

A medical exemption certificate means free prescriptions but MS is NOT mentioned under the regs for applying.

If you have private healthcare then you will be expected to pay anyway. And get used to the fact that some drugs available in the US may not be here.