National Health Service (NHS)
Many international students are entitled to use the National Health Service (NHS), which offers free health care to those living or studying in the UK.
The following NHS treatments are free for all students:
- Treatment given in an accident and emergency department or casualty department
- Family planning services
- Treatment for certain communicable diseases
- Compulsory psychiatric treatment
However, other NHS treatment may require you to pay. As an international student, you may not qualify for it and may need to get medical insurance instead.
If you come from a European Economic Area (EEA) country, you and your family qualify for full NHS treatment. You should obtain a European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) before coming to the UK, which entitles you to treatment.
If you are Swiss, or a national of one of the EU member states who has come to study in the UK from Switzerland, you will have the same healthcare eligibility as EEA nationals. However, this may not apply to you if you are a national of Norway, Iceland or Liechtenstein and have been resident in Switzerland before coming to the UK.
If you are not from an EEA country, you'll still qualify for some NHS treatment if you meet the following conditions:
- If your course lasts for 6 months or more, you are entitled to free medical treatment from the beginning of your stay. If your family are living with you as dependents, they will also be entitled to NHS treatment.
- If your course is for less than 6 months, you will have free accident and emergency hospital treatment. However, you will have to pay for any other treatment as a private patient. It is therefore very important that you take out medical insurance for the duration of your visit to the UK.
You can find more detailed information on the UK CISA website.
Registering with a doctor (GP)
When you arrive in Cardiff it is important to register with a doctor. Do not wait until you become ill to register!
Celtic English Academy will give you a letter to help you register with a doctor and will suggest which surgery you should go to depending on where you live.
Accident & Emergency
If you need urgent medical attention, call 999 for an ambulance.
NHS Direct Emergency Line
If you can’t get to see a doctor, you can call the 24 hour NHS Direct number, which operates 7 days a week, 365 days a year. Calls are free from landlines or mobiles. Call 0845 4647. Soon the service will change to NHS 111, so call 111 when you need medical advice.