A new FCO healthcare contract started on 1st April providing cover for UK-appointed staff and their families posted overseas. Current provider, Healix International, was successful in last year’s tender process. This means both the provider and model of healthcare remain the same, so no significant changes are anticipated. We are however, alongside the FCO and Healix, always looking to improve the service provided, and in particular to provide better information on the scheme’s workings to all those it covers.

It’s a unique and often misunderstood scheme so full briefing sessions on the scheme are available for both staff and their partners. Please do contact me (contact details below) if you would like to attend one. In the meantime though, here are the top five things I’d like to draw your attention to in relation to the scheme:


The scheme is often referred to as the Healix scheme rather than its true name, the FCO Healthline scheme. It’s less of a mouthful saying Healix rather than FCO Healthline, but Healix is the scheme’s administrator rather than owner. The policy and model of healthcare is ultimately determined and owned by the FCO and the British Council, so please remember that Healix is there purely to implement the scheme on our behalf.

Not insurance

Under the scheme all medical costs incurred are paid by the British Council and charged to local budgets. There are no excesses to be paid and no cost ceilings, assuming the treatment is in line with British Council policy.


The UK National Health Service (NHS) is regarded as a default provider for secondary care under the scheme (essentially most treatment outside of GP and emergency services). In practice only about 1/5 of secondary care happens on the NHS—the rest is arranged and funded at post. You should though be prepared to return to the UK for treatment if required. The British Council may fund medical flights but does not meet UK accommodation costs, so you’ll need to have plans in place should you need to return to the UK for treatment.

Overall the NHS provides high standards of care and the continuity of care it provides can be a major benefit for those who have been globally mobile for a number of years.


Pre-approval from the FCO Healthline is mandatory for all secondary care at post. If you have any doubt at all whether the treatment you’re about to undergo may be classified as secondary care, please do check with the FCO Healthline first. If you don’t obtain pre-approval you will expected to pay the full cost of the treatment.

Primary care and emergency treatment does not require pre-approval.

 Where to find more information

This provides just a brief overview of the essential information related to the scheme—you can find more about it in the health benefits section on our intranet. If you can’t gain access to the intranet please contact either myself or the BCFA manager and we’ll send you the documentation. If you have any general policy queries, the HR International Mobility Team is a good point of contact.

For country specific information (primarily which clinics you can attend under the FCO Healthline scheme, what to do in an emergency and British Council claim processes), your local British Council office should be able to assist. In some locations the FCO Community Liaison Officer (CLO) may also be a useful contact.

Last, but certainly not least, Healix is your main point of contact should you have any medical issues. You should always contact them if you require secondary care, and do so as soon as is possible if there is a medical emergency. They will also be able to advise on pretty much everything related to the scheme, including British Council policy and local medical facilities.

Healix can be contacted 24/7 on T:+44 (0) 20 8481 7800 or at fcohealthline@healix.com. You should make sure you always have their contact details to hand.

Tom Pagan, Head International Mobility


Tel: +44 (0)207 389 4185, email: thomas.pagan@britishcouncil.org