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Health and wellbeing - information for parents and families

Understanding how to access free health care through the UK's National Health Service (NHS) and which health services your son or daughter will need to pay for as an international student. You'll also find details of NTU Medical Centres and how to register with advice for students on how to stay healthy on this page.

How to access NHS health care

Student walking in a field

To access free health care through the UK's National Health Service (NHS) as an international student, your son or daughter will need to do the following:

  • Pay the Immigration Health Surcharge as part of their Student visa application (see below for more information on the surcharge).
  • Register with a doctor when they arrive at NTU.

Free healthcare with the NHS includes:

  • Consulting a doctor for any medical issue (these doctors are known as 'GP' or General Practitioner).
  • Treatment in a hospital, including emergency treatment.

How to register at an NTU Health Centre

We have medical centres for students on our City and Clifton campuses and vert close to our Brackenhurst campus in Southwell.

Please encourage your son and daughter to register at their nearest centre as soon as they arrive, and not to wait until they feel ill or need a repeat prescription of some medication, for example.

They can register in person or online. You will find all the relevant contact links and online registration forms on our student hub.

The University practices provide many services, including:

  • appointments with a (GP) doctor, practice nurse or health care assistance (these may be in person or over the telephone depending on the circumstances)
  • new patient and general health checks
  • asthma checks
  • blood pressure checks
  • blood tests
  • travel advice and immunisation
  • breast examination advice
  • dietary advice
  • emergency advice out of normal working hours.

Immigration health surcharge

As part of the Student visa application, your young adult must pay the Immigration Health Surcharge (IHS) to be eligible for free healthcare through the NHS.

Free healthcare includes:

  • Consulting a doctor, also known as a 'general practitioner' or 'GP'.
  • Treatment in a hospital, including emergency treatment.

Charges apply for some services, such as:

For more information on the NHS services and what you may have to pay for the UKCISA website is a useful source.

Minor illnesses – coughs and colds

If your son or daughter has a minor illness, such as a cough or a cold, there are a range of medicines they can buy online or in person at a supermarkets or a chemist in Nottingham. They will also be able to get advice from the pharmacist on the most effective medicines for their symptoms.

At the first sign of Covid symptoms, including a cough, your young adult is advised to take a Covid-19 test and to self-medicate using medication such as paracetamol to help manage their symptoms.


The GP is not likely to prescribe antibiotics for minor illnesses, such as coughs and colds, as these are usually prescribed to treat or prevent some types of bacterial infection. Antibiotics do not work for viral infections such as colds, coughs, sore throats, chest infections and flu, and therefore GPs do not automatically issue antibiotics to treat these illnesses.

Medical emergencies

The accident and emergency department in hospitals is for emergencies only.

If your young adult has a medical problem outside normal health centre working hours, or they are not sure how serious the problem is, they can call 111 from their mobile, or visit for immediate advice.  The 111 service will refer them to Accident and Emergency services if necessary. They can also visit the NHS Urgent Care Centre Walk-In Service which is open 07:00 - 21:00.

In the case of a serious emergency needing immediate assistance your young adult should phone 999 for the ambulance service. We're very fortunate in Nottingham to have two fantastic hospitals within easy reach of the city centre:

COVID-19 vaccinations

Anybody aged 18 or over in the UK is eligible for the COVID-19 vaccination for free, regardless of the nationality or immigration status. Your young adult will not have to pay for the COVID-19 vaccination, it is free of charge and does not count as the kind of care that requires payment.

If your son or daughter has already had one vaccine they will be able to arrange to have their second dose or booster dose here.


If you have any questions or concerns you can visit the NHS website which offers lots of helpful advice and guidance about having the vaccine. Your young adult can also speak with NHS Clinicians at the on-campus clinics as well as the main vaccination sites.

Staying healthy while studying

Arriving at university in a new country is a very busy time for international students. Here's some great advice you can give your son and daughter as they prepare to come to NTU.

  • Register at an NTU Medical Centre as a priority when they arrive.
  • Meet the student support teams at the welcome activities and familiarise themselves with the information and advice for health and wellbeing on the student hub.
  • Be kind to themselves – it takes time getting used to a new environment and culture.