Most healthcare in the UK is provided by the National Health Service (NHS). This service provides emergency, routine and occasional medical treatment to people within the UK. All medical treatment within the UK will be treated in the strictest medical confidence and will not be told to anyone without your consent.
In an emergency, telephone 999 for free from any UK telephone or mobile, and ask for the ambulance service. If you are unsure, call 111 and they will be able to advise you.
All students (regardless of immigration status) are able to access emergency treatment in a hospital Accident & Emergency (A&E) department. This is only for emergency treatment for serious illness or injury.
If you are in the UK on a Tier 4 visa, you will have paid the Immigration Health Surcharge (IHS) as part of your application. This entitles you to access the NHS within the UK. Most services are free to access, although some carry charges. You will be made aware if you will be charged to access a service.
Students on a short course of 6 months or less are not entitled to access free hospital care, and should ensure you have adequate private medical insurance to access healthcare whilst you are in the country. Doctors in England will ormally accept students who are on courses of any duration onto their lists of NHS patients. They do not apply the same tests that determine whether or not you can have free hospital treatment.
If you are an EU/EEA student or Swiss national you need to obtain a European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) or private medical insurance before coming to the UK.
If the doctor accepts you as a patient you will be sent a medical card through the post with your NHS number. However, being registered with a GP (doctor), and having an NHS number, does not give you automatic entitlement to free hospital treatment. The hospital providing treatment is responsible for establishing whether international students are entitled to free hospital treatment.
Your first point of contact for medical treatment in the UK is through a General Practitioner (GP) or health centre. Most illnesses and other problems can be treated by the GP, but if a specialist is needed then the GP will refer you to an appropriate hospital department. GP appointments are free, but there is likely to be a charge for any medication you need.
Accident & Emergency departments are open 24 hours a day in some hospitals to provide emergency medical assistance to anyone within the UK.
Cornwall-based students: The Penryn Surgery is available in the Tremough House Annexe, Penryn Campus, five days a week during term time. You can register with the Penryn Surgery during ‘Move-in’ weekend in The Compass (Exchange Building), or email email@example.com to request a registration form.
If you will be living in Falmouth, Truro or the surrounding areas, The Compass team will have details about other local doctor surgeries.
All students: If you will be registering with a doctor please ensure that you bring the following information for yourself and your family, if they are coming with you:
- Details of any past illnesses requiring medical treatment
- A full record of past immunizations
If you are currently taking medicines please make sure you bring adequate medication to cover the first few weeks at University. Take your medicines or the empty containers to the Health Centre when you have your first doctor’s appointment. Be aware that not all medicines you have access to at home may be available within the UK.
If you have had a serious illness, if you are currently undergoing medical treatment or hospital investigation, or if you are currently taking medication, then a brief doctor’s letter in English, summarizing your medical history, will help the Health Centre to provide you with uninterrupted health care. Please do not send this in advance of your arrival but bring it with you when you register at the Health Centre.