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It is important to remember to look after yourself when you are in the UK and to find out how to obtain medical treatment if you need it. The National Health Service (NHS) is the healthcare system in the UK and is primarily funded through general taxation rather than requiring insurance payments. Some NHS services are free, others you need to pay for.
NHS treatment free for everyone:
- Treatment given in an accident and emergency department (this may exclude emergency treatment given elsewhere in the hospital; and follow-up treatment)
- Treatment given in a walk in centre providing similar services to those of an accident and emergency department of a hospital
- Treatment for certain communicable diseases
- Compulsory psychiatric treatment
- Family planning services
NHS primary care medical services
Primary care is the local healthcare offered by General Practitioners (GPs), NHS-walk-in centres, dentists, pharmacists and optometrists. Anyone who is in the UK may receive NHS primary medical services at a GP practice. Your nationality or the duration of your programme of study at UCL are not relevant for your entitlement to register as an NHS patient for primary care services.
What is a General Practitioner?
The General Practitioner, or GP, is a doctor who sees patients with a wide range health problems. For most health problems, the GP should usually be the first doctor you consult. You need to visit a GP to register in order to access the services they can offer. If you have a complicated problem or an illness that requires specialist advice the GP may refer you to a specialist clinician.
If your GP prescribes medication, you will be asked to pay a statutory NHS prescription charge of £7.65.
UCL Health Centre on campus
UCL Health Centre, also referred to as Gower Place Practice, is an NHS general practice located on UCL campus which provides general health care, a contraceptive service and a full nursing service. You can register with them if you live in one of the local postcodes which they cover.
To register, you need to download and complete their form and then visit the UCL Health Centre in person. You will be able to register only after enrolling on your programme of study at UCL as you will need to present your UCL identity card at registration.
NHS secondary care medical services
Secondary is the healthcare provided in hospitals. Your
entitlement to receive secondary care services depends on the duration of your programme of study in the UK and which country you are from.
If your programme of study at UCL is full-time and for a duration of six months or more
Under the current Regulations of the Department of Health, if you are coming to UCL to pursue a full-time programme of study for six months or more you will be fully entitled to free NHS hospital treatment in England. If your spouse or children under 16 years (or up to the age of 19 if they are in full-time education) are living permanently with you in the UK for the duration of your programme of study at UCL, they will also be eligible for NHS treatment on the same basis as you.
If your programme of study at UCL is part-time and/or of less than six months' duration
You need a valid European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) from your home country, to access free NHS hospital treatment when you are in the UK. The EHIC entitles you to all medically necessary treatment during your stay free of charge. The EHIC is not an alternative to travel insurance and it does not cover any private medical healthcare and/or being flown back to your home country.
Nationals of, and UK nationals in, the following countries:
Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Bosnia, Croatia, Georgia, Gibraltar,
Yugoslavia i.e. Serbia & Montenegro, Kazakhstan, Kirgizstan, Macedonia,
Moldova, New Zealand, Russia, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Ukraine, Uzbekistan.
Residents irrespective of nationality of the following countries: Anguilla, Australia, Barbados, British Virgin Islands, Falkland Islands, Iceland, Isle of Man, Jersey, Montserrat, St. Helena, Turks and Caicos Islands.
*The list of countries is correct as of October 2012 but is subject to change as new arrangements are agreed, or existing agreements end. You can find the most up to date list on the Department of Health website.
You can access free NHS hospital treatment that is needed promptly for a condition that arose after your arrival in the UK. This exemption will also apply to your spouse or children under 16yr (or up to the age of 19 if they are in full-time education) who are living permanently with you in the UK for the duration of your programme of study at UCL.
Students from non-EEA countries and countries with which the UK does not hold a bilateral healthcare agreement
You will be charged for any treatment you receive other than the aforementioned NHS treatment free for everyone. For instance, you will receive free emergency hospital treatment but if you are then moved on to a ward, or given an outpatient appointment, charges will apply. It is therefore essential that you have appropriate medical insurance that coves the full duration of your stay in the UK.
Obtaining more of your prescribed medication in the UK
There is no guarantee that you will be able to get the same medication as prescribed to you in your home country. In order to get medication in the UK, you need to be assessed by a doctor who will decide what medication you need. If your course is three to six months long and you are on regular medication, you are advised to bring with you sufficient supplies for the whole duration of your programme of study.
You are strongly recommended to have the following vaccinations before starting at UCL:
- Meningococcal Meningitis C Conjugate (if this is unavailable Meningitis A and C or ACWY may be given instead)
- MMR (Mumps, Measles and Rubella).
If you do not have these vaccinations, contact UCL Health Centre as soon as possible.
Some dental practices in the UK provide NHS treatment but many do not, a full list of those who do is available on the NHS website. If you already have a GP then your dentist will contact your GP to confirm your NHS entitlement. If accepted, your dentist will ask you for the NHS number on your medical card.
Even if you are entitled to NHS treatment, you may still need to contribute towards the cost of your dental treatment. If you are not entitled to NHS treatment, or the dentist you choose does not take NHS patients you will need to meet full cost of your treatment.
You will normally need to pay for an eye test. If you need glasses or contact lenses, the optician will give you a prescription. The cost of frames and lenses varies greatly.
Page last modified on 09 oct 12 09:55