Health care

As a student in Leeds, you'll need to register with a doctor, and be familiar with where to go if you need help, treatment or advice.

WHO TO CONTACT WHEN YOU’RE ILL

Find more information on who to contact if you’re ill. The process might be different to what you’re used to so it’s important that you know where to go and who to call depending on the situation you’re in. 

The NHS app allows you to book and manage appointments with your doctor (GP), order prescription medicines and arrange for them to be sent to your local pharmacy. You can also use the app to:

  • Search for health advice, including the use of NHS 111.
  • See your UK medical records.
  • Prove your vaccination status and obtain your NHS COVID Pass.
    *Please note that your NHS COVID Pass will only show vaccinations you’ve received in the UK. See the ‘Vaccinations’ section below to find out how you can transfer any vaccinations taken abroad to your UK medical record. 

Non-emergency health problems

If you have a minor health problem such as a cold, sore throat or dry skin, you can visit a pharmacy (chemist) to buy treatments. 

All pharmacists train for 5 years in the use of medicines. They are also trained in managing minor illnesses and providing health and wellbeing advice. Pharmacists have the right training to make sure you get the help you need and tell you if you need to see a GP.

Find out all the different ways you can receive help from a pharmacist.

For other non-emergency health problems, you should see your doctor (GP). Always see the GP as a first step and only go to the hospital if advised by your doctor. 

Your GP can prescribe medication or refer you to hospital for more treatment, if necessary. In this case, you’ll be given an appointment to see a consultant (specialist doctor). It can take some weeks to get a hospital appointment.

You can speak to a GP only if you have already registered with a doctor. It’s important you do this as soon as possible when you’ve arrived in Leeds. Find more information on the ‘Registering with a medical practice’ section below.

If you have a minor illness or injury and you cannot wait until your GP surgery is open, go to a walk-in centre, minor injuries unit or urgent treatment centre.

If you want to get help for your symptoms, you're not sure who to contact or want to find general health information and advice, call 111 or visit 111.nhs.uk.

Emergency healthcare

An emergency is a life-threatening condition, such as loss of consciousness, severe chest pain, breathing difficulties or severe bleeding. 

In case of an emergency:

Call emergency services to get help

  • If you’re off campus – call 999.
  • If you’re on campus – contact University Security Services on +44 (0)113 343 2222.

Go to the Accident & Emergency department of your local hospital.

Leeds General Infirmary
Accident & Emergency Department
Jubilee Wing, Clarendon Way, Leeds, LS1 3EX
+44 (0)113 243 2799

Registering with a doctor

It’s important to be able to speak to a local doctor in case you are ill during your time at university. As soon as possible after you arrive, register with a local Medical Practice (also called GP surgery).

Where can I register?

Most students choose to register to with the Leeds Student Medical Practice, near the University campus. The registration process generally takes 2 days, but it can take longer in September. Find out how to register with the Leeds Medical practice.

You can also choose to register with a different medical practice. Some GP surgeries offer more services than others and you can register with a surgery that's closer to where you live or better fits your needs. Look up GP surgeries available in Leeds, see what they offer and how they compare.

When you’ve found a GP surgery you’d like to register with:

  • check the surgery website to see if you can register online or
  • call or email the GP surgery and ask to be registered as a patient.

Because of coronavirus (COVID-19), try to avoid going to the surgery in person to register.

A surgery can refuse to register new patients for specific reasons, find out more about when you can be refused registration.

What documents will I have to show to register?

  • You do not need proof of ID to register with a GP but we recommend bringing your passport with you in any case. 
  • You could be asked to complete a GMS1 form as part of the registration process. 

Find out more about registering with a doctor and download a GMS1 form from the NHS website. If you need help registering or filling in forms, call the GP surgery and let them know.

Registering with a dentist

In the UK, you can register with a National Health Service (NHS) dentist or a private dentist. 

NHS dental treatment:

  • does not cover any cosmetic treatments or any other treatment that is not clinically necessary. 
  • has fixed charges for dental treatment, unless you qualify for dental charge exemption

If you wish to register with a National Health Service (NHS) dentist in the UK, you need to first register with a doctor, so you have an NHS number. 

If you are entitled to NHS treatment, find a local dentist who is currently taking on new patients.

Private dental care:

  • will get you an appointment quicker then with an NHS practice
  • will cover all treatments, including cosmetic ones
  • may be very expensive. Costs are set by individual dentists and can change from practice to practice.

Check what is covered in your medical insurance, if you have it. For private care, contact the dentist surgery directly.

In the case of a dental emergency, ring 111 for advice. 

Current government guidelines ask you to call or email your dentist first and to only visit a dentist if you have been asked to. 

Mental wellbeing

To keep in good mental health, health experts recommend that you regularly:

  • talk to your family and friends
  • eat a healthy balanced diet
  • exercise
  • do something you enjoy
  • avoid too much alcohol.

It's normal to feel down or stressed at times, but if these feelings don’t go away quickly, or if you find it hard to cope with the normal stresses of life, it is important to seek help.

If you're living in a new country, things like the climate, food and behaviour in social and academic situations can be very exciting, but you may find the changes can feel difficult and stressful for a while. 

Read UKCISA’s useful resources on culture shock and attitudes to mental health in the UK.

If you feel depressed, stressed, anxious or lonely, you can seek confidential help by:

If you have a pre-existing mental health condition, read our information on mental health difficulties to find out about the support that is available to you.

VACCINATIONS

Bring records of any vaccinations you have had in your home country with you.

COVID-19

If you have already received a COVID-19 vaccination:

Bring evidence of any vaccinations you have already had against COVID-19. Register with a doctor and speak to your GP to find out how you can get your vaccinations added to your medical record. Find more information on how to register with the doctor on this page.

If you have not yet received a COVID-19 vaccination:

You can book to receive vaccinations against COVID-19 while you are in the UK. Anybody aged 18 or over in the UK is eligible for the COVID-19 vaccination for free, regardless of their nationality or immigration status.

How to book your vaccination

  • If you have already registered with a doctor, speak to your GP about booking your vaccination. 
  • If you haven’t registered with a doctor yet and don’t have an NHS number, you can still request to receive COVID-19 vaccinations for you and your dependants.

Book your COVID-19 vaccination or find a wlak-in vaccinations site.

Types of vaccines

You cannot usually choose which vaccine you have. If you book online, you'll only be offered appointments for vaccines that are suitable for you. However, there are circumstances in which specific vaccines are recommended.

If you have received a first dose of COVID-19 vaccine in your home country that is also available in the UK, you should receive the same vaccine for your second dose. If the vaccine you’ve received for your first dose is not available in the UK, you will be offered the most similar option to what you’ve already had.

Find more information on what happens at your coronavirus (COVID-19) vaccination appointment.

Meningitis and septicaemia

Meningitis and meningococcal septicaemia (blood poisoning) are serious diseases that can strike rapidly with little warning and, if left untreated, could be fatal. Outbreaks of meningitis tend to happen where people live or work closely together, such as at university and living in shared student accommodation.

The National Health Service (NHS) recommends that you are vaccinated against Meningitis C, ideally before arrival. If you haven’t had a Meningitis vaccination before coming to Leeds, make an appointment with your doctor to discuss this.

For further information about vaccinations against meningitis and septicaemia, please read the information for University Students from the NHS.

Tuberculosis

Tuberculosis (TB) is a bacterial infection spread through inhaling small droplets from the coughs or sneezes of an infected person. It mainly affects the lungs, but it can affect any part of the body, including the tummy (abdomen), glands, bones and nervous system. Often the symptoms can be similar to COVID-19.

Find out more and register and see a doctor if you are worried.

Sexual Health and Relationships

You may notice differences between the views and behaviours related to sexual relationships in the UK and those you have experienced at home. 

The University supports students to follow their own beliefs about what is appropriate to them in a relationship. The legal age of consent for heterosexual or homosexual sex in the UK is 16.

For information on sexual health, contraception and support related to sexual relationships, visit the Help and Support Team in Leeds University Union or the Leeds Sexual Health or Family Planning Association websites.

Smoking, alcohol and drugs

Smoking

It is illegal to smoke in nearly all enclosed public places, workplaces and on public transport in the UK. If you break the law you can be fined or even prosecuted.

You cannot smoke in any University buildings or at entrances to University buildings, including doorways and covered walkways.

The University is a smoke-free campus, and we are asking people not to smoke on the smoke-free campus, between 8am– 6pm every day. Currently, you can still vape outdoors as it’s recognised as an aid to stop smoking. If you want to quit smoking, free help and support is available.

Leeds Student Medical Practice or your local doctor can give you support if you want to stop smoking. Visit the Quit Smoking webpages.

Alcohol

It is illegal for anyone under the age of 18 to buy alcohol in the UK. It is also illegal for an adult to buy alcohol for someone who is under the age of 18. Read more about the legal requirements around drinking alcohol

For some students drinking with friends is a very important part of social life and some may drink more than it’s recommended. Many students just have a few drinks and some do not drink alcohol at all. You certainly won’t be alone if you ask for a non-alcoholic drink, whether you are at a bar, or at someone’s home. All UK social venues offer a wide range of non-alcoholic drinks. There are also lots of venues and events that don’t serve alcohol.

For more information about the health implications of drinking and laws relating to drinking alcohol, visit the Drink Aware website and the websites ‘Frank’ and 'THINK!'

Drugs

All controlled drugs such as cannabis, ecstasy/MDMA, cocaine and more are illegal in the UK.

If you are caught with controlled drugs in your possession, you can be criminally prosecuted. This could also lead to the University taking strict disciplinary action and result in your expulsion from the University.

If you are concerned or have questions about drugs, there’s lots of information on the Frank website and NHS website. You can also contact the Frank drugs helpline on 0300 123 6600. This 24-hour, seven-days a week, free and confidential telephone service offers advice and information.

What health care are you entitled to?

Find out about your health care entitlements, whether you're a home or an international student.

You can find more information about healthcare charges and services on the gov.uk website

For more information about entitlements for children, pregnant women or health benefits which may subsidise the cost of NHS prescriptions, dental charges and optical costs, visit the NHS website.

All students

  • In England, you’re entitled to receive NHS (National Health Service) Primary care medical services at a GP (General Practitioner) surgery without charge.
  • GPs are usually the first point of contact for all patients. You should register with a local GP surgery as soon as possible. 
  • You're entitled to free emergency care but if you're hospitalised and require further treatment, you may be charged. Please see below for further information.
  • Bring vaccination records with you to show to a doctor if you need to. 
    Some nationals of certain countries require screening for tuberculosis to enter the UK. The NHS also recommends students travelling from other countries to be vaccinated against Meningitis. You should also bring evidence of any COVID-19 vaccinations you have had in your country.  
  • Medication prescribed by your doctor is paid by the NHS, but there is a standard prescription charge that you must pay when you collect your medication from the pharmacy.
  • Services from dentists aren't free, unless you qualify to receive free NHS treatment.
  • Eye treatment is not free. You may be entitled to a subsidised eye test but there will still be a charge for glasses or contact lenses. Children under 16, or under 19 and in full-time education are eligible for an NHS voucher entitling them to free eye tests and glasses.

International students with visas for less than six months

  • You'll only get a limited number of services free.
  • Initial emergency healthcare services provided by a hospital accident and emergency department will be free, but you’ll be charged for any further treatment or services.
  • If you’re a student coming from outside of Europe, buy health insurance before you travel to cover you for using medical services while you're in the UK.
  • If your home country has a reciprocal health agreement with the UK, some costs may be covered or you may be able to reclaim some healthcare costs. Seek advice from the health authorities in your home country about what treatment will be covered. 
  • If you have a valid EEA or Switzerland-issued EHIC or are a Norwegian citizen with a valid Norwegian passport, you can access medically necessary treatment during your stay. Make sure that your EHIC card covers for the whole duration of your stay in the UK before you travel and buy health insurance to give you extra cover.   
  • Visitors from Iceland, Liechtenstein or Switzerland may have to pay for NHS healthcare. Any treatment that has to be paid for will be charged at 150% of the national NHS rate.
  • EEA and Swiss nationals who are granted a status under the EU Settlement Scheme have their UK residence protected after Brexit and can use National Health Services for free if ordinarily resident in the UK. Students living and studying in the UK are normally considered to be ordinarily resident. Eligibility for the EU Settlement Scheme is based on having been resident in the UK by 31 December 2020.
  • If you are an EU/EEA/Swiss national who arrived from 1 January 2021, your entitlement will depend on the type of visa you have. 

International students with visas for more than six months

  • You (and your dependants) are entitled to free medical treatment from the NHS. You and your dependants are required to pay an Immigration Health Surcharge as part of your visa application. The fee is a mandatory fee of £470 per person, per year of your visa. This fee will entitle you and your dependants to free health services under the NHS. Even if you are here for longer and pay the Immigration Health Surcharge as part of your visa application, consider buying health insurance to give you extra cover.   
  • This does not include dental care or non-necessary treatment.
  • You may need to buy health insurance to cover any treatment which is not covered by the NHS, or for private, non-emergency medical treatment.

What to do if your studies are affected by illness

Inform your School if you are absent because of illness so they can support you and help you manage any impact on your studies. Check the process you must follow on our when you're ill page.

If you’re an international student who has been ill and you need to extend your visa to complete your studies, you also need to contact the Student Visa Advice Team for immigration advice.