arrive in a new country, it can be easy to concentrate only
on your studies and forget about taking care of your health.
Problems can be made worse by adjusting to a different climate,
unfamiliar food and the emotional strains of being away from
home. Below are are few things to bear in mind to help to
stay healthy while in Britain and what to do should you become
do I prepare for the British weather?
weather is extremely unpredictable, but generally the period
from November to February is very cold. The climate can be
harsh, and the wet weather will make it seem even colder.
A good way of keeping warm is by 'layering' your clothes.
That is wearing t-shirts or shirts under woollen jumpers,
with a warm jacket or coat over the top, depending on how
cold it is. A waterproof coat or macintosh and strong shoes
are useful in the rain. An umbrella is essential!
these things may be cheaper to buy in Britain, so check first
with your institution on the comparative costs. Try to ensure
that the rooms you live and work in are warm enough, and that
you have plenty of bedding at night. Not all buildings have
double glazing or central heating, and dampness can make you
feel colder. On the other hand, be careful not to keep your
room too hot, as gas and electricity can be expensive - and
it will feel even colder when you do go out!
do I do if I fall ill?
course of study is for six months or more, you can get free
health care from the British medical scheme called the National
Health Service (or NHS), right from the beginning of your
stay, on the same basis as anyone who is ordinarily resident
in the UK. Your spouse and children under the age of sixteen,
or nineteen if still at school, will also be entitled to NHS
treatment. If you are from a country with which the UK has
a reciprocal health agreement you will be covered even if
your course is less than six months, but only if the need
for your treatment arose while you were visiting Britain.
You are entitled to free treatment in NHS hospitals and you
may register as a patient with an NHS General Practitioner
(GP). If your course is for less than six months, you are
advised to take out health insurance from a reputable company,
to cover yourself and your dependants.
do I register with a Doctor or General Practitioner?
arrive at your place of study you should register with a doctor
as soon as possible. Do not wait until you are ill. If your
college has its own health centre, you may be able to register
there. Otherwise, you should register with any doctor close
to where you live. A list of local doctors will be available
from the post office. To register, you will need to visit
the doctor's receptionist during consulting hours, taking
a letter from your college as proof that you are a student.
You should ask to be added to the list of NHS patients. Most
doctor's surgeries have female as well as male doctors, and
if you prefer you can ask to be put on a woman doctor's list.
paying the full (private) cost of treatment make sure the
doctor knows you want treatment from the NHS. If the doctor
accepts you as a patient, you will be sent a medical card
through the post which will include your national health service
number. Don't lose this! If the doctor cannot accept you,
try elsewhere or contact the local Family Practitioner Committee,
whose address can be obtained from the post office or doctor.
Under the NHS, consultations with doctors are free. Ask whether
or not you have to make an appointment to see the doctor,
and remember to be on time for any appointment you make. Normally
a doctor will only agree to visit you at home in emergencies,
when you are confined to bed.
I get free medicine?
the NHS you will be asked to pay something towards the cost
of prescriptions. Some of these and other medicines can be
bought from the pharmacy counter at chemists. In some cases,
the medicine prescribed by the doctor may be available without
a prescription from the chemist for less than the standard
prescription charge, so always check first with the pharmacist.
Some medicines are only available on a doctor's prescription.
however, automatically entitled to free prescriptions if you
are under nineteen and studying full-time, if you are pregnant,
or if you have had a baby within the last twelve months. You
may also be able to get free prescriptions on the grounds
of low income, in which case, you should complete a form AG1.
should I do if there is an accident or an emergency?
event of an accident you should telephone 999 for immediate
assistance. Your call is free, and you will be asked whether
you require the fire brigade, police or ambulance service.
When you have described the emergency and given the address,
wait until help arrives.
treatment is available in hospitals?
treatment in a hospital following an accident is provided
free; but not all hospitals provide this kind of service.
Hospitals also provide specialist treatment, and treatment
for which any kind of extended stay is necessary. Your doctor
will refer you if it is necessary.
if I need to go to the dentist?
try to have your teeth checked by a dentist at least once
a year. You can find lists of dentists who give NHS treatment
at local main post offices. You need to be registered with
a doctor in order to qualify for NHS dental treatment, otherwise
you will have to pay the full cost. Check first whether the
dentist accepts NHS patients, as some dentists will only accept
private patients. Once accepted, you will need to give the
dentist the NHS number on your medical card. There is a charge
for all dental treatment. The dentist will ask you to sign
a dental estimation of the treatment's cost, of which you
will have to pay a maximum of £300 during any course of treatment.
If you think you are eligible for a refund on the basis of
low income, complete Form AG1 and AG5 within a month of the
date on your receipt.
I have to pay for eye treatment?
have to pay a minimum charge for an eye test on the NHS unless
you are under nineteen and in full-time study. If the test
shows you need glasses or contact lenses, the optician will
give you a prescription. The cost of frames and lenses varies
considerably, so check with several opticians before buying.
You can apply for help with the cost of your glasses on the
basis of low income in the same way as for medical and dental
treatment. If you have already paid for the glasses, you cannot
apply for a refund afterwards.