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Arriving in a new country is a very busy time for international students and there are a lot of changes to go through. For example, there are differences in food, weather and customs to cope with. In this type of situation, with all its stresses, you can find yourself paying less attention than usual to your health.

 

Existing health problems can also be made worse by the effects of adjusting to unfamiliar food, a different climate and the emotional strains of being away from home. It can be easy to concentrate on your studies and forget about taking care of yourself.

 

This section aims to give advice on looking after yourself, as well as practical information on how to obtain medical treatment. It also explains international students’ entitlement to free medical treatment under the UK state health system.

 

 

Reminder: the Accident and Emergency department is for emergencies only, if you are unsure you should call NHS 111 first or visit your pharmacy, they will be able to advise you.

 

 

 

GP (Doctor) surgery or health centre

 

This is your first point of contact for medical treatment. UK residents register with a Health Centre or GP's Surgery. Most illnesses and other problems can be treated by the GP, but if you need to see a specialist, the GP will refer you to an appropriate hospital department. As well as consultations with a Doctor, most GP's Surgeries and Health Centres provide a range of community health services: for example vaccinations, women's health clinics, services for parents of young children, family planning, contraception and sexual health. GP Surgeries and Health Centres are normally open during the daytime and early evening.

 

 

Register with a GP

 

When you arrive in the UK you should register with a local doctor as soon as you can. Do not wait until you are ill.

 

 

 

How to register with a local doctor (‘GP’, General Practitioner)

 

When you arrive at The College you should register with a local doctor ('GP', General Practitioner) as soon as possible. They are based in local offices (called 'GP Surgeries') or Health Centres.

 

In order to find local GP surgeries have a look online. If you cannot find your local surgery please contact the International Operations for more help on international@bpc.ac.uk

 

To register, you will need to visit the doctor’s surgery during consulting hours, taking a letter from The College as proof that you are a student, along with your passport and any loose immigration documents. You should ask to be added to the list of National Health Service (NHS) patients. This means you will not have to pay a fee to visit the doctor.

 

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.

 

 


 

Hospital

 

If your GP refers you to hospital for treatment, you will usually be given an appointment to see a consultant (specialist doctor). Depending on the medical problem, you may be treated as an in-patient (where you are admitted to a ward and stay there overnight or longer) or as an out-patient (where you visit the hospital for an appointment).

For information about whether you will have to pay hospital fees, please see the information following the link:

https://www.ukcisa.org.uk/Information--Advice/Studying--living-in-the-UK/Health-and-healthcare#layer-3209

 

 

Accident and Emergency (A&E) Department

 

Some hospitals have Accident and Emergency departments. These departments are open 24 hours a day.

 

If you need immediate medical assistance (for example, because of an accident), telephone 999. The call is free including from mobile phones. An operator will ask you which emergency service you need (Fire, Police or Ambulance).  For urgent medical assistance ask for the ambulance service. Be ready to tell the emergency services what has happened and exactly where you are, especially the street name.

 

Once you are connected to the Emergency Medical Dispatcher, she or he will ask you questions about the condition of the patient and may offer advice on what to do until the ambulance arrives. If the person is badly injured and needs to go to hospital, an ambulance will be dispatched to take the person to a hospital Accident and Emergency (A&E) department.

 

If you need urgent treatment, but you are well enough to travel, you should make your own way by bus or taxi to an Accident and Emergency (A&E) department, or ask a friend to take you.

 

There are no fees for Accident and Emergency services (as long as you are not admitted as an in-patient and do not access follow-up treatment), and you do not have to have paid the immigration health surcharge to use them.

 

Note: You should only use A&E Departments for emergency treatment for serious illness or injury.

 

If you feel unwell or have a minor injury, always consider these options before going to A&E:

 

  • Self care – look after yourself at home with a well-stocked medicine cabinet

 

 

  • Ring NHS 111  – 24 hour helpline for medical help and advice. If you are not sure where to go for your illness or injury, ask them.

 

  • Make an appointment with your GP (doctor) - for illnesses that just won’t go away

 

 

 

 

The regulations

 

The regulations are 'The National Health Service (Charges to Overseas Visitors) Regulations 2015' (Statutory Instrument 2015 No.238). These have been amended a little by 'The National Health Service (Charges to Overseas Visitors) (Amendment) Regulations 2015' (Statutory Instrument 2015 No.2025).

 

 

 

 

Information about when to seek help

 

 

NHS 111
Click for more info

 

 

When to go to A&E
Click for more info

 

 

When to call 999
Click for more info

 

 

When to visit an urgent treatment centre
Click for more info

 

 

NHS out-of-hours services
Click for more info

 

 

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