Registering with a Medical Doctor

Care from a General Practitioner (GP) remains free to all students on a course of more than 6 months and you can register with a GP without charge. Full details on how to register with a doctor (GP) will be available on arrival. In Exeter, there is a Student Health Centre on the Streatham Campus and the St Luke's Campus in Exeter is served by the Heavitree Health Centre. In Cornwall, the Penryn Campus is served by the Penryn Medical Centre.

For Streatham and St Luke's Campus in Exeter you can registration in the Forum during Freshers' Week or from the Health Centres direct if you arrive outside Freshers Week.

For Penryn Campus in Cornwall registration forms for Penryn Surgery can be obtained from The Compass during Freshers' Week.

The Health Centres are open weekdays 08:45 to 13:00 and 13:30 to 17:00

From 6 April 2015 all non EEA persons applying for visas to come to the UK for more than 6 months will be required to pay an Immigration Health Surcharge along with their visa application.  The payment will go directly into the NHS and applicants will be entitled to receive the same cover as a permanent UK resident. 

Students from the EEA will need to present a European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) or private medical insurance to access treatment in a hospital or Mental Health Services and will otherwise be charged.

If you are from a country with a reciprocal agreement with the UK, you will be covered for hospital treatment even if your course is less than six months, but generally only if the need for your treatment arose after you came to the UK. 

If you are an EEA student or Swiss National studying on a course of less than six months, and you bring a completed E128 form from your own national health authority, you and your family will be eligible for treatment for all conditions, including pre-existing ones. You must be an EEA resident who is 'ordinarily resident' in the EEA for this to apply.

If drugs are prescribed by a general practitioner or family doctor, a prescription charge is made per item - currently £8.20. If you are not eligible for free health care we cannot guarantee that the University Health Centre or your doctor will provide this for you, but you will still be given free emergency treatment (but not free follow-up treatment or hospitalisation). You are strongly advised to take out medical insurance from a reputable company to cover yourself and any dependants before you leave home.

Private medical insurance

If you are on a short course (less than six months) you are not entitled to free health care under the National Health Service other than emergency treatment in a hospital casualty department. It is important, therefore, to take out comprehensive medical insurance before you leave your home country. Some countries have a reciprocal health agreement with the UK; please check with your British Embassy/High Commission. Private medical insurance is necessary if you are coming to the UK for less than six months. You must ensure you have adequate insurance cover as health care in the UK can be very expensive. Details of eligibility for NHS care can be found at the Department of Health website.

Medical history

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).

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. You are responsible for any fee your doctor may charge.

Any information given to the Health Centre will be treated in strict medical confidence and will not be divulged to anyone without your consent.

Tuberculosis screening

When obtaining your entry clearance or on entry to Britain you may be asked to undertake a brief medical examination including a chest x-ray to exclude tuberculosis (TB) – this is a normal requirement and should not worry you. If you have had a recent medical check-up in your home country, please bring a letter from your doctor or hospital confirming the results.


If you are eligible for NHS treatment you will be eligible for treatment from a dentist accepting NHS patients. Please note that dentists accepting new patients are extremely limited – hence the need for private insurance. There are charges for NHS dentist services based on a percentage cost up to a maximum of approximately £375.


Eye tests are available at opticians, which can be found in the High Street. You will have to pay a charge of around £25 for an eye test. You will need to pay for lenses and frames which can cost from £35 to over £350.

Further information