Local Health Services
Family Doctors - GPs (General Practitioners)
All students must register with a GP as soon as possible after arrival. In the UK, general medical care is provided by the National Health Service (NHS). Only once registered with a GP, will you be eligible for full NHS cover and avoid costly charges (see below). The nearest GP Practice is Newnham Walk Surgery. Registration for Newnham Walk Surgery is online.
UK Students: please ensure you bring adequate supplies of any prescription-only medication with you, as once you complete the GP online registration your medical notes will transfer to Newnham Walk Surgery. Newnham Walk Surgery advises UK students register online no more than a week before coming to Cambridge in case you need to see a GP before leaving home. Registering with a GP in Cambridge does not preclude you from consulting your family (or other) doctor during vacations although you will be asked to complete a temporary resident form on these occasions.
Non-UK Students: You can complete the online GP registration with Newnham Walk Surgery before you arrive in the UK.
You will need the following to register:
- NHS card/ NHS number, if you have one and can find it!
- International students, who have not registered with a GP in the UK previously, will receive an NHS number following GP registration
- Name and address of your previous GP
- A copy of your immunisation history (obtainable from your existing GP)
To choose an alternative GP practice, enter your Cambridge postcode into the NHS web page NHS Choices. You can either visit the practice to register, or some practices have online registration.
You are entitled to free National Health Service care and treatment whilst in the UK if your course is both full-time and lasts six months or more, or if you have paid your NHS immigration health surcharge (IHS) when applying for your visa.
If this is the case, entitlement also applies to your family members (spouse/civil partner and your children). To be entitled, family members are required both to live with you for the duration of your course (although settling-in time is permitted before you send for them) and to have the correct UK visas and IHS Reference number. You are also entitled to specialist care from the NHS, as long as it is for the treatment of a condition that is not pre-existing.
NHS Costs & Charges
NHS care and treatment are not entirely free, although children under 16 years old, or under 19 years old and in full-time education, are exempt from the following treatment charges:
- Dental care: heavily subsidised and all dentists have to agree a price with you before beginning treatment. A checkup is around £23
- Eye care: subsidised too, but not as much as dentistry
- NHS prescription charges: currently set at just over £9 for each item printed on the prescription, for example, any quantity of the same medication. This charge is paid to the pharmacist
Students from the UK on a low income may qualify for help with certain health costs. Entitlement is based on an assessment of your circumstances. To claim, complete form HC1 Claim for help with health costs.
Emergency NHS Treatment
UK NHS care and treatment can be given universally in an emergency. Only use the Accident and Emergency department (A&E/ER/Casualty) for the treatment of true life-threatening or limb-threatening conditions. Always telephone 999 or 112 if someone is seriously ill or injured, and their life is at risk.
Other illnesses and injuries are dealt with by:
- NHS 111 by telephoning 111
- NHS 111 option 2, for mental health crisis assessment
- Your local pharmacist
This service is a fast and easy way to get the right help, whatever the time. It is available 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. Calls are free from landlines and mobile phones. Call 111 when you need medical help fast, but it’s not a 999 emergency, for example, if:
- your GP surgery is closed
- you think you need to go to A&E or need another NHS urgent care service
- you don't know who to call or you have not got a UK GP
- you need health information or reassurance about what to do next
Addenbrooke's Hospital NHS Trust
Cambridge University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust
Hills Road, Cambridge CB2 0QQ
Telephone: 01223 245 151
If you wish to visit someone at Addenbrooke's contact the ward directly for information about visiting times and whether flowers can be taken onto the ward.
If you are in the UK on a visa, you should bring your IHS reference number, visa, passport and College letter of acceptance with you when attending Addenbrooke’s Hospital.
Long-term Health Conditions
Bring with you documentary evidence from your doctor (in English) as confirmation for any existing long-term health conditions and make an appointment to discuss your needs. The GP will give you relevant information about clinics, vaccines or prescriptions.
If you are receiving medical treatment or taking medication, bring with you a doctor's certificate (in English) confirming the treatment and any medication you are taking. If you need ongoing medication in the UK, the GP reception will explain how they arrange repeat prescriptions; it can take up to 48 hours, so make arrangements before you run out. Some practices have an arrangement with a local Chemist so that you can pick up the items without taking the prescription from the practice to the Chemist yourself.
GPs reserve the right not to prescribe certain medication and not all medication from outside the UK is available on the NHS. Your GP will sometimes be unable to prescribe the medication you are taking, because it is not used here or because of NHS prescribing restrictions. If you have specialised medication or you are in any doubt, you are advised to bring a supply with you.
If you are an international student, you are strongly advised by Addenbrooke's Hospital payment office to take out medical insurance for the duration of your stay to cover the following potential health-related costs. See UKCISA for further details.
- Loss of fees if you are unable to complete your course
- Treatment and medical expenses not covered by the National Health Service
- Costs of returning home if a relative is taken ill
- Costs of a relative visiting you in the UK if you fall ill
- Returning to your home country for treatment
Out-of-hours GP cover for Cambridge is provided by Herts Urgent Care (HUC) and is based at the Urgent Treatment Centre, Clinic 9, Addenbrooke’s Hospital. This is a short walk (100m) from the Accident and Emergency department. Call 111, if you need GP assessment and treatment from 18.00 - 08.30, and 24 hours on weekends and on public holidays. You will be asked to supply your post code and the name of your usual GP practice or GP. An operator will take your details and a GP will return your call. If you are asked to attend the Urgent Treatment Centre, you are advised to take a friend with you and the Porters can call a taxi for you.
Further information can be found here.
Fit For Travel gives travel health information if you are travelling abroad from the UK. 8 weeks before you travel, check with your Practice Nurse or private travel clinic which vaccinations and extra health precautions you need for the country you are visiting. If you take prescribed medication, find out if it is legal in the country you are visiting and take with you a copy of the prescription and a doctor’s letter.
Dental treatment during COVID-19 restrictions. UK Dentists keep lists of regular patients to enable them to provide ongoing treatment and care both under the NHS and privately. The College recommends that all students continue their dental care with a Cambridge dentist. This avoids time taken obtaining treatment away from Cambridge and reduces the likelihood of emergency dental work being required.