Registering with a GP
We recommend you register with Holborn Medical Centre, the College’s General Practitioner’s Surgery (GP). You can register with the GP free of charge and it is a simple procedure which will take around 30 minutes. You will be asked to complete a form providing your personal details, and to provide a form of photographic ID and proof of your address (e.g. your contract with your halls of residence).
We advise your to register as soon as possible after you arrive in the UK, especially if you require repeat prescriptions or frequent medical attention. If you are not a UK, EU or EEA citizen, you may need to pay a healthcare surcharge (called the ‘immigration health surcharge’ or IHS) as part of your visa application. We’ll email you more information about this when it’s time to apply for your visa.
European Health Insurance Card
The EHIC is issued free of charge and is valid throughout the EEA and Switzerland. The card allows you access to state provided medical treatment (sometimes free or at a reduced cost), while temporarily staying in a member state. You will need to apply for an EHIC in your home country before coming to the UK; please consult your relevant Department of Health for further information on this.
For more information on health care for foreign students, please refer to www.foreignstudents.com/health
Dentistry in the UK is not free. You can register with any dentist of your choice. Some dentist surgeries accept both NHS and private patients. You will need to complete some simple registration forms at reception. Private paying patients will receive faster and more convenient appointment times, with the option of booking on a Saturday. NHS patients will often wait a little longer but treatment is not inferior. NHS dentist patients will receive subsidised prices; however, you must be aware that treatment is not entirely free. A standard NHS check-up will cost around £18.50.
Opticians’ services are not free in the UK. We recommend that if you wear contact lenses or glasses, that you update your prescription before coming to the UK, in addition to bringing your prescription information. You can find your nearest optician via the NHS website.
What to do in an emergency
If you find yourself or someone else requiring urgent medical attention and are in immediate danger, call 999 and request an ambulance.
If you require medical attention, but you are not in immediate danger, you can go to the Accident and Emergency department of the nearest hospital – this is free of charge but long waiting times are usually encountered.
Pharmacies and Medicines
You will find pharmacies (also known as chemists) all over the city, usually marked with a green cross. High-street pharmacies such as Boots and Superdrug are very common and sometimes offer more convenient prices, as opposed to independent pharmacies. The UK offers many medicines and over the counter treatments for minor ailments at fairly low prices; these can also be purchased from a supermarket. Paracetamol can be purchased for as little as 16p a box! Antibiotics and stronger medicines will require a prescription from your local GP.
Free contraception is available for full-time students from most family planning clinics. More information can be found on the NCH website, or by speaking with the NCH Student Wellbeing Coordinator, Emma Norman.
Herbal Remedies and Alternative Medicines
You will find many places, such as supermarkets, Boots and Superdrug, that will sell herbal alternatives. There are also many specialised shops, such as Holland & Barrett, that also sell such products.
There are also many places in London that offer alternate treatments, such as acupuncture, reflexology, aromatherapy, etc. Such treatments are not usually available through the NHS, so you will need to pay for them.
Other than the NHS, private healthcare is also an option, offering much quicker appointments and treatment; however this does come at a cost. Private medical insurance may also be necessary if you do not fully qualify for NHS treatment, so please verify this before moving to the UK.
London is one of top cities in the world for advanced medical care, so finding a private clinic will not be difficult.
Endsleigh insurance offers low prices specifically for students and is the only insurance provider recommended by the NUS (National Union of Students). Please visit their website for further information. If you already have an insurance policy in your home country, please check to see its validity for the duration of your stay in the UK.