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.


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 a note from your doctor, with an English translation if necessary. 

We advise that all students bring 60 to 90 days' worth of their prescription to cover them until you are able to arrange an appointment with their GP and continue your supply of medication. 

In England, most people need to pay for prescriptions. The current cost is £9.65 per prescription item. If you know you'll have to pay for a lot of NHS prescriptions, you may be eligible to buy a prescription prepayment certificate (PPC) – effectively a prescription "season ticket". If you get a prescription prepayment certificate (PPC), you could save up on some prescription costs. There are two PPCs:

  • 3-month PPC – £31.25
  • 12-month PPC – £111.60

Find out more about PPCs.

Please note that you may not be able to receive the exact type/brand of medication you receive in your home country. This is a common occurrence and your GP will assess you in order to prescribe the most appropriate alternative.

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.



Current NHS guidelines state that the COVID-19 vaccination is an important part of protecting yourself if you are at increased risk from severe COVID-19. If you believe yourself to be in a severe risk group, then you can speak to your GP about receiving the COVID vaccine.


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 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.

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.