The National Health Service (NHS) is the publicly funded healthcare system for the UK. It is primarily funded through the general taxation system, and provides healthcare to anyone legally resident in the United Kingdom, with most services free at the point of use.
If you have a Tier 4 Visa you have paid the NHS fee and are eligible to use it.
If you are not eligible for free healthcare via the NHS, you can pay for the service. A consultation with a doctor can be between £40-70. If you have a pre-existing illness, it is a good idea to come with your own insurance, and/or explore what your US university insurance provider covers.
Your UK university may also have an onsite doctor or nurse. Take the time to investigate what services they provide in advance, and register immediately upon arrival. Even if you never use them, you don’t want to go through all the paperwork or be unable to get an appointment if you get sick and are not registered.
If you need to find medical services near you, you can find doctors, pharmacies and hospitals using your postcode.
- England and Wales: http://www.nhs.uk/service-search
- Scotland: http://www.nhs24.com/findlocal/.
If you are in doubt as to whether your medical situation is an Emergency, you can ring an NHS information line on ‘111’. Please note this number only works from a British SIM card or landline.
If you need urgent treatment, go to Accident and Emergency (A&E). This is what Americans refer to as the Emergency Room. You will be treated no matter what your immigration status. If you need extended treatment at the hospital and stay for more than one night, you will need to pay. Then contact your insurance company.
Let the Cornell Brown Penn Resident Director know.
Your UK university will give you more details about how to make a doctor’s appointment when you arrive.
Do your best to stay healthy. Get plenty of sleep, drink water during hot days, eat well and get exercise. Joining the student gym or sports club can be a great way to stay in shape and meet people.