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Getting healthcare in the UK as an international student

Before you start university, make sure you can get medical treatment while you are in the UK.

What you need to check before you arrive


It is important to find out which vaccinations you need before coming to the UK.

If you have a health condition

If you have a pre-existing health condition, talk to your doctor at home. You should discuss whether you will be covered by the UK healthcare system (NHS). You may need to take out private health insurance for the length of time you are studying here.

If you are having any medical treatment you should bring a doctor's report in English to the UK. The report should give details of your illness or condition. It should also detail any medicines you are taking and any future treatment you need.

If you have a Student Visa

You will need to pay an Immigration Health Surcharge when you apply for your student visa. This will entitle you to National Health Service (NHS) medical treatment while you are in the UK.

If you are from Switzerland or a country in the EEA

Students who are EU nationals and who were living in the UK before 31 December 2020, or exchange students who are EU nationals and who are here for less than 6 months, can still access healthcare through EHIC.

If you are an exchange student here for less than 6 months and not from the EEA or Switzerland

We recommend that you take out private travel insurance.

What is the NHS

The NHS (National Health Service) is the UK’s healthcare system. You can access all of the services in the NHS. This includes emergency services, GPs (doctors) and dentists. Below we outline when to use the different services available.

Minor conditions

Go to a pharmacy for advice and treatment for minor conditions that do not need a prescription. Read about services you can get from a pharmacist.

Visiting a GP (doctor)

If you have a health problem or concern visit your GP (doctor). They can treat many conditions, provide health advice and give prescriptions. They can also refer you to other NHS services. Before you make an appointment to see your GP, think about what other services might be able to help.

If you have sexual health concerns you can also visit a sexual health service. These offer testing for sexually transmitted infections and contraception advice.

Mental Health support

Read about NHS mental health support services or talk to your GP. If you need help for a mental health crisis or emergency, you can get 24-hour support and advice. Find out where to get urgent help for mental health. More information about mental health support in the UK is available from the University.

Urgent medical problems

NHS 111 can help if you have an urgent medical problem and you’re not sure what to do. To get help from NHS 111, you can go to (for people aged five and over only), or call 111.

You may need urgent medical attention that isn't a life threatening situation. If so you can go to an urgent treatment centre. Find out more about when to visit an urgent treatment centre.


Call 999 in a medical emergency. This is when someone is seriously ill or injured and their life is at risk. Find out more about medical emergencies and when to call 999.

Accident & Emergency (A&E) is an emergency department or casualty. A&E deal with genuine life-threatening emergencies. Find out when to go to A&E.

If you need help but aren’t sure where to go you can get help from or call 111. It's available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

Register with a GP (doctor)

You can register with the Medical Centre on campus. Or if you live off campus, find your nearest GP. We recommend you do this as soon as possible when you arrive in the UK.

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