Will I have to pay for medical treatment in the UK?

The UK has a National Health Service (NHS) that provides free and subsidised health care. International students pay the hearth surcharge during their visa application and this will cover you during your entire stay in the UK.

You might need to pay a healthcare surcharge (called the ‘immigration health surcharge’ or IHS) as part of your immigration application.

Whether you need to pay depends on the immigration status you’re applying for.

For more information on the immigration health surcharge:


What should I do in a medical emergency?

Stay calm and phone 999. The phone call is free, including from mobiles (cells). The operator will transfer you to ambulance dispatch, which will send an ambulance and can talk you through some first aid until the paramedics arrive. Alternatively, if the injury is not immediately life-threatening, contact NHS Direct, which will give you health advice and information about what to do, or you could go to the local accident and emergency department. All treatment is free wherever you come from, but further treatment in the hospital outside of the department may cost you, unless the NHS health surcharge covers you.

Where do I find a local doctor?

If you are going to live on campus, the university will register you with their doctor or a general practitioner (GP). This GP may have surgery on campus or nearby. Even if the doctor is not working at the university all the time, there is likely to be a nurse on duty during the day as well. If you are not going to live on campus, then you may still be able to register with the university doctor. If not or if you are living quite a long way from the university, you will be able to find a list of GPs and doctors’ surgeries and health centres in the local phone book or on the NHS Direct website. Many are very busy and may not be able to register you. If you have problems registering with a GP, contact your local primary care trust (England and Scotland), central services agency (Northern Ireland) or local health board (Wales), and it will be able to assign you to one.

I’m feeling depressed and homesick. What should I do?

Stress and homesickness are common feelings for students at the university, and most institutions will have a trained counsellor on campus. The service is free, and you should go whenever you feel like you are not coping. Don’t ignore your problems and hope that they will go away by themselves. Counsellors will happily listen to any worries or concerns you may have. If they think the situation is serious enough, they will refer you to the GP for medication, which you should not feel ashamed about. If things get this bad, always mention it to your lecturer as well, so that they are aware of any problems that may affect your work.