Health and support services
Moving to a new country isn’t always easy. That’s why most universities, colleges and education institutions offer dedicated support services to help international students adjust to life in the UK and make the most of your study (and holiday) time.
UK institutions have excellent support services, which include a dedicated international students office, international student societies, academic support, counselling support and personal tutors.
Staying healthy while you study
You might find yourself in need of medical support while living in the UK.
All international students enrolled on a course for more than six months qualify for free medical treatment under the UK's National Health Service (NHS), which removes concerns over any potential healthcare bills and is a significant benefit of studying in the UK.
To qualify for free or discounted NHS treatment, you must meet certain conditions and pay an additional International Health Surcharge as part of your visa application. To find out more, visit the UK Council for International Student Affairs (UKCISA) website.
Finding a local doctor
Your local General Practitioner (doctor) will be able to provide confidential, basic healthcare if you’re sick, and also help prevent future health issues. They can also refer you to a specialist if needed.
You should register with a local doctor as soon as you can after arriving in the UK, as they will be able to help you with a wide range of health problems.
To register, you will need to visit the doctor’s clinic during consulting hours, and show them:
- a letter from your institution, as proof that you are a student.
- your passport.
- any loose immigration documents.
It’s important to let them know you want treatment from the NHS (provided you are eligible) so you avoid paying the full (private) cost of treatment.
Visiting a dentist
You should get your teeth checked by a dentist every six months, so if you are staying in the UK for a long time, you may need to register with a UK dentist. In Britain, there are many dentists who offer NHS treatment. NHS treatment is cheaper than private treatment, but is not free.
The best way to find a dentist is usually by searching online or asking someone you know.
What to do in an emergency
If you need urgent medical help, you need to go to the emergency department of your nearest hospital or call 999.
It’s free to call 999 and all emergency medical services are free in hospitals. Depending on where you live and your situation, there may be a fee for the ambulance service.
If you have a serious medical condition such as diabetes, high blood pressure or allergies to medication, you might wish to wear a medical necklace or bracelet with your medical information on it.
If you are bringing medication with you to the UK, you should also carry a letter or prescription from your doctor.