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Health advice

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. 

Anyone making a Tier 4 visa application after the 5 April 2015 will be required to pay the NHS surcharge to access NHS healthcare in the UK. If you hold a Tier 4 visa that you applied for before 6 April 2015 you will not need to pay the surcharge. For more information about this please see the UKVI website.

Some NHS services are free at the point of delivery, others you need to pay for. The Information for overseas visitors to the UK on the NHS website provides detailed information on how to access health treatment in the UK if you need it.

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.

Finding NHS general practice service near you

If you live outside UCL Health Centre’s catchment area, you can search for an NHS general practice near you on the NHS website. You can also look for a local dentist on this website.

When to register

We strongly recommend that you register with a general practitioner (GP) within the first few weeks of arriving in the UK. This will enable your GP to process your registration and provide you with NHS number in good time. You are required to have an NHS number in order to obtain hospital treatment (non emergency) and if you need to be referred to a specialist clinician.

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.

Medical Insurance

If you are not entitled to free NHS treatment we strongly recommend that you take out private health insurance before travelling to the UK. Even if you are eligible for NHS treatment free of charge, it is advisable to take out health insurance anyway as there can be long waiting times for some NHS services. You can find further information and recommendations on the UKCISA website. UCL does not offer a specially arranged insurance policy.


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.

Dental Treatment

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.

Optical 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 15 apr 15 15:17