Living in the UK
The National Health Service (NHS) is the UK’s state health service which provides treatment for UK residents and certain overseas visitors. Some services are free but others have to be paid for.
The following NHS services are free for EVERYONE irrespective of nationality:
- Emergency treatment (but not follow up treatment)
- Family planning services
- Diagnosis and treatment of certain communicable diseases
- Compulsory psychiatric treatment
If you are an EEA National (European Economic Area) you and your family should obtain a European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) before coming to the UK. This card entitles the holder to full NHS treatment on the same basis as a British National. You need to apply for this in your own country.
- Students on a Tier 4 visa will either have paid the Immigration Health Surcharge or be covered because they applied for a visa before the introduction of the IHS. This entitles you to use other NHS services such as a GP or hospitals. Most of these services will be free at the point of use however some NHS services will always have to be paid for e.g. dental treatment and prescriptions.
- If you come to the UK on a short-term study visa or on a standard visitor visa then you will need to arrange travel insurance from your home country before arrival in the UK as you will not be entitled to free healthcare in the UK.
How to use the NHS
The NHS is a great service that needs to be used properly to ensure that every one can access the healthcare that they need. It is important that you understand what is available on the NHS and how to access it.
The NHS website gives a lot more information for you, and we have handy leaflets you can collect from the Bridgeman Building Information Desk that will also help you.
You will need to register with a GP as soon as you arrive in the UK. For most students that will be at the Medical Centre on campus. Unless you have an emergency condition, the GP is the person who will be able to access other services within the NHS for you, if appropriate. For example, you cannot access a Hospital Consultant without a referral from the GP (unless you have an emergency that means you have to go to the Accident and Emergency Department in Leicester or Nottingham).
Some dentists work under the NHS, there will still be a charge for their services. To find an NHS dentist you can do that here.
If you have a minor burn, bad cut, suspected fracture or sprain, you can visit the Urgent Care Centre at Loughborough Hospital.
The nearest Emergency Department is in Leicester at the Royal Infirmary. If you are unable to get there quickly, or the emergency is life threatening then call 999 for an ambulance.
You can find out more about the UK health care system on the UKCISA website and on insurance in general in the consumer section of these webpages.
Our leaflet below also contains information on this subject:
|Insurance for EU and international students|