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Everything you need to know to access the right healthcare.

How does Healthcare work in England?

Healthcare in England is provided by the National Health Service (NHS). With the exception of some charges, such as prescriptions, optical services and dental services, the NHS in England remains free at the point of use for all UK residents.

If you are a national from a country outside the EEA you will need to pay a healthcare surcharge as part of your visa application. Click for further detail on who needs to pay.

When can you start to use the NHS?

You can start using the National Health Service (NHS) when both:

You should bring your biometric residence permit (if you have one) with you when you access healthcare in the UK.

What Healthcare Services are available and when to use them

Call 111 Call NHS 111 if you urgently need medical help or advice but it's not a life-threatening situation. You can also call NHS 111 if you're not sure which NHS service you need.

A&ECall 999 if someone is seriously ill or injured and their life is at risk.

Walk-in CentreVisit a walk-in centre, minor injuries unit or urgent care centre if you have a minor illness or injury (cuts, sprains or rashes) and it can't wait until your GP surgery is open.

The nearest walk-in centre is in the city centre at Boots, 59 Broadmead. The centre is staffed by experienced NHS professionals who offer advice and treatment for minor injuries and illnesses.

Further details and opening times from the North Bristol Trust website.

PharmacyAsk your local pharmacist for advice – your pharmacist can give you advice for many common minor illnesses, such as diarrhoea, minor infections, headache, travel advice or sore throats. 

GPMake an appointment with your GP if you are feeling unwell and it is not an emergency.

How do I find a GP (General Practitioner)?

You can search for a GP that best suits your needs but the most common practice is to find one in your local area. Once you have found a GP you will need to formally register with the practice by completing a registration form. The Practice reception will be able to provide you with the appropriate form. You will need an address in order to complete it.

Further information on GPs

Find a GP near you 

Dental Services

Dentistry in England is split into NHS and private. NHS dental care is subsidised by the government and therefore is less expensive. Treatment from a private dentist is fully covered by the individual so costs more. It can be paid for through private dental insurance.

Some dentists will offer both Private and NHS treatments so it is important to clarify with them at the point of treatment.

Further information on NHS dentists

How do I find a dentist?

Find an NHS Dentist near you

Most dentists can be located using an internet search engine.

Free dental treatment is available at the School of Oral & Dental Sciences if you are happy to commit to dental treatment provided by undergraduate dental students under the supervision of qualified clinical dentists. Email: for an assessment appointment.


There are many reputable high street opticians in the UK and you can make an appointment either by visiting in person or by telephone. Some people are entitled to free eye tests or vouchers to help with the cost of glasses, but if you are not eligible you will have to cover the costs yourself.

Find out about eligibility


If you find out you are pregnant you will need to arrange to start antenatal care. You can do this either by booking an appointment with your GP, or directly with your midwife if you know who this is. If not your GP will be able to advise you.

Maternity rights, pay and leave for international employees are the same as for UK employees.

Maternity pay and leave‌ (Government guidance)

University Maternity Policy 

Looking after yourself

The health and happiness of our staff is of paramount importance to us. We are committed to providing support where we can, to help you deal with any issues around your mental health and wellbeing.