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Health advice before you arrive

Find out more about how to prepare for your stay in the UK, including information about prescriptions, pre-existing medical conditions and recommended vaccinations.

Coronavirus (COVID-19) and Ridgmount Practice

Ridgmount Practice (UCL's partner GP surgery) is offering online, video and phone consultations as well as face to face appointments. Please get in contact with the surgery to discuss your consultation options before attending in person. This will help prevent possible transmission of COVID within the NHS.

Visit the Ridgmount Practice website for further information.

If you have more general concerns or questions about the virus, please read our advice about coronavirus (COVID-19).


Prescriptions

There is no guarantee that you will be able to get the same medication in the UK as prescribed to you in your home country. In order to get medication in the UK, you need to be assessed by a doctor, referred to as a General Practitioner (GP). It is a good idea to bring your current prescription and/or a note from your doctor, with an English translation if necessary. 

In England, most people need to pay for prescriptions. You may be eligible for free prescriptions, for example, if you are aged under-19 and studying full-time.

See the NHS website for details on eligibility for free prescriptions and the current prescription charge. 

Please note that 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 duration of your programme of study.


Pre-existing medical conditions

If you have any pre-existing medical conditions, it is strongly recommended that you ask your current doctor to write a letter explaining these and any medication you are receiving. You can pass this letter on to your GP in the UK as this will help ensure consistency in your treatment.

We recommend that you inform your doctor at home that you will be coming to study in the UK and discuss any matters related to medication and access to this during your time here with them.

In the UK, GPs are also the primary point of contact for any mental health issues students may be experiencing.


Vaccinations

COVID-19

Current UK Government rules state that people do not need to have received a COVID-19 vaccine to enter the UK. All international students aged 18 or over in the UK are eligible for the COVID-19 vaccination for free, regardless of their nationality or immigration status. This includes international students studying in the UK for less than 6 months.

People under 18 are not currently being offered the COVID-19 vaccine. If you are in the UK, you will have to wait until you are 18 to receive the COVID-19 vaccine.

While registration with a GP is encouraged to access the vaccine, individuals can request to book COVID-19 vaccination appointments as an unregistered patient through a local GP practice.

If you register with a GP, they will contact you directly about accessing the COVID-19 vaccine.

If a person has received a first dose of COVID-19 vaccine overseas that is also available in the UK, they should receive the same vaccine for their second dose. If the vaccine they received for their first dose is not available in the UK, the most similar alternative should be offered. The student should contact a GP to ensure they receive an appropriate vaccine for their second dose.

For more detailed information regarding access to the COVID-19 vaccine, please see the NHS COVID-19 vaccine FAQs for students.

Full information for UCL students on COVID-19 is available on our dedicated website.

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Meningitis

All university students under 25 years should be immunised against Meningitis (ACWY). All first year undergraduates are now advised to have a Meningitis (ACWY) booster if they were less than 10 years of age when they received their first Meningitis C injection.


MMR

MMR vaccine protects against measles, mumps and rubella (German measles). Before starting higher education students should have had two doses.

If you have not had these immunisations, Ridgmount Practice (a local practice near the UCL Bloomsbury campus) may be able to provide them.

While it is not a requirement, it is strongly recommended that you bring along a copy of the vaccinations you have already received, such as a letter from a doctor or a certification in English. There is no requirement for a specific form to provide evidence of vaccinations.

You are strongly recommended to have the meningitis and MMR vaccinations before starting at UCL.

Contact Ridgmount Practice as soon as possible upon arrival if you have not had your vaccinations. 


Accessing healthcare back in your home country

During your time at UCL, you may go back home for a period of time and need to access healthcare. It's important that you familiarise yourself with the different rules and regulations your home country has, regarding its citizens who are living abroad but want to access their healthcare. Your should speak to your home GP or health insurance provider and ask what the specific rules are regarding this. Please note that your proof of access to healthcare in the UK will be either your payment of the Immigration Health Surcharge for students coming on a Student visa or proof of having received pre-settled/settled status under the EU Settlement Scheme.

If you have full access to the National Health Service (NHS) in the UK, then you will be eligible for health cards which give you access to state healthcare in certain European countries. See the UCL website for more details on these health cards.