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Registering with a doctor
In the UK a family doctor is usually called a GP (General Practitioner). Typically you would see your GP about minor problems such as infections, aches and pains and contraception. If your GP thinks you have a more serious problem that needs to be treated by a specialist they will refer you to the hospital. Check with your GP when you register, but normally you will not have to pay for your treatment at the doctors, but you will have to pay for any prescriptions (medicine etc.).
If you want to see your GP you will need to phone the surgery to make an appointment. If you need to see the doctor urgently you can usually go straight to the surgery but you may have to wait some time. If your problem is very urgent you should go straight to A&E.
If you come from an EU country you will need to apply for a European Health Insurance Card in your home country. Click here for more details on the treatment you can receive with this card.
If you are from outside the EU and you will be studying in the UK for at least six months then you can register with a doctor. We recommend that you register as soon as possible to save time if you become ill. When you ring the surgery you would like to register with check the following
- that they are accepting new patients (some surgeries are full)
- what paperwork you will need to register (typically a passport and proof of your address).
If you are from outside the EU and will be studying in the UK for less than six months you will need to go to a private medical centre.
If you are not from an EU country click here to read about your entitlement to NHS (National Health Service) hospital treatment. Below is an outline of entitlement for non-EU students. Please note that this information can change and the most up to date information is on the link above.
- If you study in the UK for more than six months then you are entitled to free hospital treatment on the NHS.
- If you study for less than six months but are from one of the countries listed here then you will only be entitled to free hospital treatment that is needed promptly for a condition that arose after your arrival in the UK.
- If you are studying in the UK for less than six months and you are not from one of the countries listed above you will not be entitled to any free hospital treatment.
Emergency hospital treatment is free for everyone.
Healthcare for EU students
If you come from an EU country you are eligible for free healthcare in the UK, but you will need to check any restrictions in your home country (your home country will have an agreement with the UK). You must apply for a European Health Insurance Card in your home country before you come to the UK. If you need to see a doctor you can go to a surgery (an NHS surgery, not a private clinic) with your European Health Insurance Card and make an appointment. You do not need to register with the doctor.
Most European Health Insurance Cards are valid for a visit of approximately 3 months. After this time some doctors surgeries will allow you to register and get free treatment although the surgery can choose not to register you if you are not a permanent resident in the UK.
Emergency treatment in hospitals or at a hospital Accident & Emergency department is free for everyone wherever you come from although you will probably have to pay for any drugs supplied for use afterwards. Click here for local Accident and Emergency departments.
- If you need an operation which is not urgent you may have to wait a long time for NHS treatment. If you can, you will find it better to have private treatment.
- Please remember that free treatment in hospitals is not available on conditions which existed before you came to the UK.
- We strongly advise that all students take out medical insurance.
Medical treatment for such matters as contraception, pregnancy or sexual disease is also available from special clinics. Please see the list on our information page about sex and drugs.
Paying for Medical Treatment
If you would prefer to pay for medical treatment (and be seen immediately) see the details about The Westover and The Medi-Centre at Victoria Station.
If you have problems with your teeth and want to see a dentist you will definitely have to pay for treatment. The local dentist in Holland Park is Aron Balkin, 146 Holland Park Avenue, W11 4UE, Tel: 0207 727 5810 or Reznek & Marsden, 170 Holland Park Avenue, W11, Tel 0207 603 4155. The local dentist in Westcroft Square is James Hull Associates, 307-309 King St, Hammersmith, London, W6 9NH, Tel 020 8748 6161.
Emergency Telephone Number
999 is the number to dial for emergencies and is free from any telephone. You will be asked which service you require: Fire/Ambulance/Police.