Access to healthcare services for residents
Healthcare in the UK is provided by the National Health Service (NHS), and is available to anyone who is 'ordinarily resident' (check here if you are eligible) or who has paid the Immigration Health Surcharge as part of a visa application. Visa holders should bring their Biometric Residence Permit with them when accessing healthcare services.
You should register with your nearest health centre soon after your move to the UK. Your surgery will then assign a doctor, known as a 'general practioner' or 'GP', to you. There si no charge for basic healthcare, e.g. general consultations at a GP practice or at any hospital. However, you may be required to pay some or all the cost of prescription medicines, dental or eye treatment. Please refer to the NHS dental service and optician service pages for more information.
Please note that the NHS care does not cover you for healthcare outside the UK and separate travel insurance should be arranged for this. If you are from the European Economic Area (EEA), you should apply for an European Health Insurance Card (EHIC), which will entitle you to some medical coverage while you are travelling within EEA countries. Additional, private medical insurance may be advisable for travel outside Europe.
If you require further information about healthcare, healthcare resources and counselling in the UK, please consult the University's Occupational Health Service pages.
If you are here for less than six months, then you are only entitled to free NHS hospital treatment in emergency situations. For non-emergency cover, you should either bring your EHIC card with you (for residents of the European Economic Area - see above), or arrange private medical insurance for the duration of your stay.
Medical care if you are not registered with a doctor
If you are not yet registered with a doctor but require a medical appointment, you can receive treatment from any local GP practice (medical practice) within 14 days of arriving in the country.
Emergency medical services
The number for emergency medical services in the UK is 999 from a landline, or 112 from a mobile.
'Out of hours' medical services
If you require non-emergency medical assistance outside standard working hours, you can call 111. This line will provide advice and if needed will organise out of hours care from GPs, community nurses or an ambulance. The NHS website also gives information on the most common conditions, along with their treatments.
Some dental practices work in the private sector (i.e. not funded by the NHS), or offer a combination of NHS and private services. It can be difficult to find a good dental practice which has spaces for NHS patients, so ask colleagues or neighbours for recommendations.If you have private healthcare insurance, you should check whether this includes dental cover.
The University and colleges do not normally have special arrangements with opticians, so you should register with an optician of your choice. Charges for sight tests vary, but University employees who use display screen equipment (DSE) may be able to claim back the cost.
If you have a visual problem which requires specialist attention, you will be referred to the hospital eye service.
Did you know? The NHS is the largest and oldest state-funded healthcare system in the world, looking after 1 million patients every 36 hours. The Commonwealth Fund ranks it the number one overall provider of state healthcare, compared against: Australia, Canada, France, Germany, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Sweden, Switzerland and the USA (Mirror, Mirror report, 2014)