New Students

Register with a GP/doctor

We have provided information so you can research GP Practices and then register. We want to make sure that you look after yourself whilst studying, both physically and mentally, and that you know how to get medical assistance if you need it.

Image of colourful bunting with Task 6 written on the purple flag.

GP Registration 

If you are studying in Edinburgh for longer than three months, you can register with your nearest doctor, known as a General Practitioner (GP).  If you are on a short-term visit or travelling from overseas see further guidance below.

There are current challenges in certain areas for new patients registering with a general practice with some practices unable to absorb the new demand with current workforce and premises. It may therefore take longer than normal to register with a practice.

Visit the NHS Lothian website for more information on how to register with a GP

Existing medical conditions

If you are from overseas, the GP practice will not have access to your previous medical history. It is very important to bring a comprehensive and up-to-date summary of your medical record with you and any proposed management plan (all written in English). 

If you suffer from an ongoing chronic illness, requiring regular medication, you must bring at least a 3-month supply with you and consult with your registered doctor soon after you arrive. It is helpful to carry your medication in its original packaging so that it can be easily identified. 

Not all medications used overseas are available in the UK, via the NHS, so it's important to have your own supply if time is needed to identify alternatives.

ADHD Medication 

If you have a diagnosis of ADHD and are taking a form of Amphetamine, we suggest you try to bring a lengthy supply of the medication with you, accompanied by a medical note.

These medications are classed as controlled substances in the UK, and cannot be prescribed without visiting a hospital consultant. In order to get an appointment with a consultant, you will need to be referred by your GP, this can sometimes take in excess of 10 months.

You should speak to your GP in the UK if you want to have these medications prescribed locally at some point in order to initiate a referral as soon as possible.


Step 1 - Before you arrive - How to find a GP Practice

Healthcare in Scotland  

The National Health Service (NHS) is a free health care service for all residents of the UK.  We recommend that you register with a local practice, who will provide medical care if required. 

If you are already registered with a GP (General Practitioner) in another part of the UK, we recommend that you register with an Edinburgh practice, if that will be your main home whilst at University.

Find your local GP practices

Once you arrive in Edinburgh, you will need to register with a GP that is close to your term-time address as a student.

Some GP practices fill up quickly with new students, so we recommend looking up at least three different options that are closest to your semester-time address in Edinburgh. 

Use our handy Google Map to find a GP, hospital, and pharmacy closest to your Edinburgh accommodation.

Open the map and tick the services you are looking for in the side menu, and they will appear on the map:

Use Google Map to find your nearest GP

Use NHS Inform website to find your nearest GP

University Health Centre

The University Health Service is an NHS GP practice located on Bristo Square, Central Campus. This practice will register students who live within the area covered by the practice whether in private or university accommodation, if capacity allows after students have arrived in Edinburgh. 

All registrations are undertaken digitally via the practice website.  Please do not go to the practice to register in person.

University Health Service

Step 2 - When you start/arrive on campus - you can register with a GP Practice

Contact a GP practice 

Once you have found your nearest GP practice, check their website for information on when registration for new students will take place.  

You will be required to complete one or two forms for registration. Details of how to register and the registration forms you are required to complete (including further documentation that will be required for proof of address/identity and student status) will usually be outlined on the GP practice website and/or within the registration forms.

You may be required to download these forms to complete them, with further information provided from the GP practice on how they wish for the forms to be returned. Read their website carefully and call the contact number on the GP practice website if you have any questions. 

After registering with a GP practice 

After you have registered, check that you understand how your GP Practice works – where you need to go to see a doctor, how you make an appointment, how you order a prescription, etc.

Some GP Practices are just open on weekdays, while some are also open on Saturdays and evenings. We recommend you look up the opening times of each GP practice on their individual websites. 


I can't find a GP practice who are accepting patients

If you can't find a GP practice yourself, you can ask your NHS Board to find one for you. To do this, you should send an email or letter to explain your situation.

Find your NHS board on the NHS Scotland website

Contact the Patient Advice and Support Service for more help

Student Health | NHS inform

If all the GP practices in your local area are full, contact Practitioner Services using the contact details below. They can offer more guidance and, where necessary, allocate a practice to you.


Travelling from overseas - Healthcare and Insurance

It must not be your intention to access healthcare when you travel. We advise that students take out adequate travel insurance which includes a medical component and also protection to cover personal items, such as baggage, books, personal computers, etc.

If you have a pre-existing medical condition, we strongly advise that you contact the Student Disability Service which will be able to provide advice and support about treatment and medication.

Student Disability Service

You should research the options available to you and select the insurance policy which is most suited to your situation. However, the National Union of Students (NUS) recommends Endsleigh, which has specific insurance for international students in the UK.

Private Health Insurance

UKCISA information about medical insurance Find out more about how the UK medical system works 



Emergency medical assistance

If you are unable to get to a GP or need immediate medical advice, you can:

Hospital treatment

If you are in serious need of emergency medical attention, call Emergency Services on 999, even if you have not registered with a GP in advance.

Relevant Links

Student Health | NHS inform

Health Information | The University of Edinburgh

 Complete your matriculation | The University of Edinburgh

Access your timetable | The University of Edinburgh

Pay your fees | The University of Edinburgh

Apply for your University card | The University of Edinburgh