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Ultimate Guide to Student Healthcare in the UK
5 min

Ultimate Guide to Student Healthcare in the UK

Apr 5, 2022
5 min

doctor treating a patient
UK healthcare explained


To ensure you have everything you need should you fall sick, this article aims to guide you on how to get medical treatment in the United Kingdom. It also elaborates on international students' privilege to free medical treatment under the UK state health system. It further describes various options such as Accident & Emergency, Visiting your GP and Hospital Appointments.

What is the NHS?

The National Health Service (NHS) is the United Kingdom's state healthcare system. The country-wide health management system allows students to leverage the best healthcare faculties in the country with a purchase cost plan. The NHS provides a wide range of health care services covering appointments with the doctor, hospital treatment and even dental care.

The accident and emergency department in hospitals is for emergencies only. If you are unsure, you must call NHS 111 first or visit your pharmacy, and they will advise you. If you are in Wales, then instead of calling NHS 111, contact NHS Direct Wales. If you are in Northern Ireland, then instead of calling NHS 111, call Northern Ireland's out-of-hours service.

GP Surgery and Health Centres

To obtain health care in the UK, you should register with a General Practitioner (GP) when you reach there. This is your first resource for clinical treatment. A GP (General Practitioner) can treat most diseases and different health issues. However, the GP will direct you to an appropriate clinic office if you need to see a trained professional. Just as conferences with a Doctor, most GP's Surgeries and Health Centers give a scope of local area well-being administrations: inoculations, ladies' well-being facilities, administrations for guardians of little youngsters, family arranging, contraception and sexual health.

GP Surgeries and Health Centers are ordinarily open during the daytime and early evening. Nonetheless, they typically have a replying mail message about where you can get help when the Surgery or Health Center is shut. Your nearby medical clinic may likewise have an NHS Walk-in Clinic.

How to register with a GP?

When you reach your study in the UK, you must register with a local doctor immediately. Your university should give you details regarding how and when to do this locally. If your university has suitable arrangements for a health centre, then you can register there. If not, you should register with a local doctor soon nearest to your student accommodation in the UK. Suppose you’re studying at the University of Manchester, the University of Wales or any university in the UK having an NHS facility inside the campus you can register for a GP on your respective campuses and if not register with a GP nearest to your student halls Manchester or student accommodation Wales etc.

To enrol, you're required to visit the local doctor's clinic or the surgery during the visiting hours, taking a letter from your university as proof that you're a student studying in the UK along with your passport and any immigration documents. You're supposed to ask and add yourself to the list of National Health Service (NHS) patients. This indicates that you'll no longer be asked to pay the doctor's fee every time you visit them if you register with a GP. If you prefer, you can ask them to put you on a woman doctor list. If you wish to be seen by a woman doctor, tell them before making an appointment, so that they can make the necessary arrangements.

Who can register?

Doctors in England, Wales and Scotland regularly acknowledge students on courses of any length onto their NHS patients' lists. They don't differentiate the very tests that decide if you can have free medical clinic therapy.

Specialists in Northern Ireland typically acknowledge their NHS patients' arrangements on courses of in any event a half year's length. They additionally believe students on more limited courses financed by the UK Government, the Northern Ireland offices, or the Welsh or Scottish Ministers.

If you fall into any of the accompanying gatherings, you ought to acquire a European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) before going to the UK, as the specialist is probably going to treat you similarly as a lasting occupant:

  • ‘Insured' European Economic Area (EEA) nationals, stateless people or refugees, their family members and the survivors (irrespective of nationality) of these groups of people, insured in each case in an EEA member state.
  • 'Insured' Swiss or EU nationals, stateless people or outcasts, their relatives and the survivors (independent of ethnicity) of these gatherings of individuals, are safeguarded for each situation in Switzerland.
  • Non-EEA nationals are legally residents and ‘insured’ in any EU country except Denmark.

If the doctor undertakes you as a patient, you will be mailed a medical card through the post with your NHS number. Nevertheless, being registered with the GP (doctor) and having an NHS number doesn’t give you the privilege to access the free hospital treatment. The hospital providing the treatments is accountable for organising whether international students are allowed to free hospital treatments. If the doctor doesn’t take you as a patient, try somewhere else or contact:

  • England - The Local Primary care trust
  • Scotland - The NHS Board
  • Wales - The Local Health Board
  • Northern Ireland - The Business Services Organisation


If your GP directs you to a medical clinic for therapy, you will normally be given the arrangement to see an advisor (expert specialist). Depending upon the clinical issue, you might be treated as an in-patient (where you are conceded to a ward and stay there for the time being or more) or as an out-patient (where you visit the emergency clinic for an arrangement).

Accident & Emergency (A&E) Department

A few (yet not all) clinics have Accident and Emergency offices. These offices are open 24 hours every day. Assume you need prompt clinical help (for instance, due to a mishap), call 999. The call is free, including from cell phones. An administrator will ask you which crisis administration you need (Fire, Police or Ambulance). For critical clinical help, request rescue vehicle administration. Be prepared to tell the crisis administrations what has occurred and precisely where you are, particularly the road name.

Whenever you are associated with the Emergency Medical Dispatcher, they will ask you inquiries about the patient's condition. She or he may offer counsel on what to do until the rescue vehicle shows up. If the individual is seriously harmed and needs to go to the clinic, a rescue vehicle will be dispatched to take the individual to a clinic Accident and Emergency (A&E) division.

You are alright to travel on the off chance that you need acute treatment; you should advance by transport or taxi to an Accident and Emergency (A&E) division or request that a companion take you. There are zero charges for Accident and Emergency administrations (as long as you are not conceded as an in-patient and don't get to follow-up treatment). You mustn't have paid the migration wellbeing overcharge to utilise them.


Settling down in a new country is a very hectic period for an international student, and there are various transitions to go through. Pre-existing health problems can be agitated by the after-effects of climate change, food intake and the emotional unwell being from staying away from home. These circumstances can lead to a lesser focus on your health than usual. We hope this blog has given you an understanding of how to navigate the UK healthcare system.