Register with a GP
Prioritising your health (both physically and mentally) while you study in a different country is one of the most important factors you need to keep in mind. This could greatly impact your experience while living in the UK.
The number one thing you should do to safeguard your health is to register for a GP when you arrive in the UK. Do not wait until you become unwell to do this.
You should also familiarise yourself with the Student Health Team at the university, who can offer confidential support and information on a variety of health-related issues. For more information on the Student Health team and what they can help with, click here .
What is a GP?
A GP is a ‘General Practitioner’, this is a type of doctor who provides medical services to the people in their local community. GPs usually work in local doctors’ surgeries/ practices and will see patients in short appointments during weekdays (Monday to Friday).
Why register for a GP?
You may become unwell while living in the UK, being registered with a GP will make treatment more straight forward.
Existing health problems are known to be made worse by the effects of adjusting to unfamiliar food, a different climate, and the emotional strains of being away from home.
If you have paid or are going to pay the NHS surcharge as part of your application, you are entitled to access to the National Health Service (NHS). It would be a waste of money NOT to use the healthcare system.
A GP can support you with:
- Routine appointments for ongoing medical problems or acute illness – including mental health concerns.
- Issuing repeat prescriptions (medication)
- Doctor’s certificates or notes required by your university course /employer
- Referrals to hospitals and other medical services for urgent and specialist treatment
- Contraceptive (birth control) services and advice
- Holiday vaccinations and health advice
Healthcare information for international students:
For students staying less than 6 months:
If your course lasts less than six months, you should take out medical insurance from a reputable company before leaving your country. Although emergencies will be dealt with, no other treatment is available to you unless you have insurance or can pay for the treatment yourself.
For students staying 6 months and over:
If you are applying for a visa to study in the UK for more than 6 months you will pay a health surcharge fee as part of your visa application. The fee is currently £470 per year. By paying this fee you will have access to the National Health Service (NHS).
Visitors to the UK from an EU country who fall ill or have a medical emergency during a temporary stay in England can use a valid European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) issued by their home country to access healthcare. An EHIC is not an alternative to travel insurance and we always advise that visitors should have both when travelling to the UK. An EHIC will not cover any private medical healthcare, being flown back home, or lost or stolen property.
Tip: Find out which GP is the closest to your Accommodation and visit their website to see how to apply as a student. This is usually online, but some practices require a physical registration form.
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