Website Feedback, Oct 2010
Eligibility for Free Healthcare
Under current regulations anyone who comes to the UK to pursue a full time course of study of more than 6 months in duration will be entitled to register with the National Health Service. This also applies to spouses or children (under the age of 16, or 19 if still in education) if they are living permanently with you in the UK for the duration of your course.
Students studying for less than 6 months but who are from EU or EEA countries will be entitled to register with the NHS.
Students will still have to meet the costs of statutory NHS charges e.g. prescription charges and any hospital treatment will be conditional on current waiting list times. At present the NHS undertakes to complete any necessary surgery within 18 weeks of referral to hospital. You cannot access consultant or specialist opinion through the NHS without a referral from your GP, other than in case of emergencies when patients are admitted to hospital through A&E (Accident and Emergency).
You may be asked for proof of the duration of your course or your nationality when you register.
For information on help with health care costs please see Form HC11 – available from our waiting room, Post Offices and NHS hospitals.
More advice on keeping healthy is available on the UK Council for International Student Affairs (UKCISA) website. You may find this information on keeping healthy of interest.
You will need to register with a family doctor (also known as a General Practitioner or GP) as soon as possible.
You can see someone at your GP’s surgery about all health matters except dental problems (you must see a dentist for these). Your GP can also arrange for you to see specialists at the hospital if this is appropriate. You will not be able to see a specialist without seeing a GP first. If your GP gives you a prescription for medication you will have to pay for the medication.
Eye tests are available from Opticians; check local listings for addresses and telephone numbers or look around the city centre – there is lots of choice and many offer special deals.