The UK is world renowned for its universal health care system, the National Health Service (NHS), which provides care to all citizens and eligible residents to the UK. As a short-term international student, you are not eligible to use the National Health Service (NHS). If you need to see a doctor, contact your insurance company, who will direct you to a practice that they have approved. What you pay, if anything, will depend on your individual insurance provider and plan. Please note that UK doctors are unlikely to prescribe antibiotics for a cold or flu.
In the UK, pharmacists are well trained, and will be able to help you with less serious ailments. Many medicines cannot be accessed unless you’ve spoken to a pharmacist, who will provide you with the best medicine based on your symptoms. We recommend using Boots, though you can find pharmacists at larger Superdrug stores. Use the NHS website to help you find a local pharmacist.
NHS 111 is a new service that’s being introduced to make it easier for you to access local NHS healthcare services in England. You can call 111 when you need medical help fast but it’s not a 999 emergency. NHS 111 is a fast and easy way to get the right help, whatever the time. NHS 111 is available 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. Calls are free from landlines and mobile phones.
In an emergency, go straight to Accident & Emergency (A&E – the emergency room). Please only use A&E in an emergency, and cannot be handled by a pharmacist or GP from your insurance provider. If you require an ambulance, call 999. For less severe injuries, an ambulance may take several hours to arrive.