Information on accessing NHS healthcare as a student, disability support or insurance coverage
Emergency services - call 999
For emergency services, including police, fire brigade and ambulance, call 999.
Emergency services are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
The National Health Service (NHS)
The UK healthcare system is called the National Health Service (NHS). It is publicly funded which means that healthcare is paid for through taxes, not when medical treatment is needed.
Generally, students do not have to pay for medical treatment. If you study in the UK for more than three months you should be eligible for healthcare treatment through the NHS.
Most doctors, hospitals and other healthcare professionals are provided for through the NHS.
NHS 24 - call 111
NHS 24 provides health information and self care advice.
If you need to speak to a doctor outside opening hours (non-emergency) you can contact NHS 24 by calling 111.
Registering with a doctor
You need to register with a General Practitioner (GP) when you arrive in the UK. Do not wait until you are ill or require treatment to register.
Registering with a GP is easy and free.
Studying for less than 3 months
If you are coming to study in the UK for less than three months, you may not be able to register with a GP. You should get medical insurance before travelling, as the cost of treatment can be expensive - some NHS services, such as emergency treatment, are free and some services have to be paid for.
Further information for students with families
If your doctor recommends you take medication you will get a prescription. A chemist (pharmacist) will dispense your prescription.
You do not need to pay for prescriptions in Scotland.
Some medicines are available without a prescription, such as paracetamol or cough syrup. You can buy them in chemists and other shops, such as supermarkets.
Some medication from your doctor, such as travel vaccinations, are not free.
If you have a pre-existing medical condition
You should get advice from your home doctor before you start University about how you will continue to seek medical care in Edinburgh.
If you take any prescribed medicine, please ensure that you have at least 3 months supply of this medicine with you when arriving to Edinburgh. You will also need to carry a letter from your doctor (written in English) or a copy of your prescription when you travel too.
Students with disabilities, chronic health conditions or a specific learning difficulties
Dentists & Opticians
Private health insurance
Feeling stressed or depressed?
You may be experiencing culture shock. This is normal and you can take steps to overcome the symptoms.
You can also seek help and advice. The Student Counselling Service can help you work through difficulties and find ways to manage your situation.