Are you an international student in the UK? Have your registered with a doctor yet? If not, check our tips for international students on how to proceed with GP registration.
Starting university can be a really stressful situation. When you’re not stressing about your new flatmates or the cleanliness of your kitchen, your focus is probably more on which club you’re going to tonight. So it’s no wonder that registering for a GP is low on your list of priorities. But it is really important that your register as soon as possible. We want to make your life as easy as possible so have put together a guide of everything you need to know about GP registrations.
How does healthcare work in the UK?
Before we start, it would be good for you to understand how the Health System is structured in the UK. The NHS or National Health Service was founded in 1948 following the core principle of “good healthcare should be available to all, regardless of wealth”. The NHS is free for all residents in the UK and the funding comes from taxation.
What is a GP?
GP is the abbreviation for General Practitioner or doctor.
How to register with a GP or doctor in the UK?
In order to register with a doctor in the UK, you have to get an appointment in advance with your chosen Health Centre. Some good advice is to not delay this and get it sorted as soon as you arrive to the UK.
Quite a lot of universities will have a health centre attached, and this will often by the most convenient to students. However you can register with any local GP. You can find your local GP surgery on the NHS website.
When choosing your GP, take the following aspects in to consideration:
- Do a bit of research, find which GP is closer, more convenient or which GP offers the best facilities or services
- Contact the Health Centre to ask if they accept registrations from patients out of the local area
You do not have to pay to register with a GP. Once you have registered, there is no charge to see your GP. If you are prescribed any medication, then these may incur a cost (in Wales and Scotland prescribed medication is free).
If you have concerns about understanding the GP or explaining your issue, you can tell the staff and they will be able to find an interpreter. There will be no costs for you to do this.
What documents do you need to bring with you?
In order to register with a GP, you will have to bring one of the following documents:
- ID or passport
- Proof of address
- Tenancy agreement
- Birth certificate
- If you are a student, you will also need a letter from your University , confirming that you are a student
- Immigration documents if you are an international citizen
Another option is to have your own private health insurance that will cover you for the duration of your time in the UK.
What happens once you are registered? How do you get an appointment with a GP?
GP surgeries may differ in their approach (particular due to COVID-19) however there are normally two main ways to book an appointment:
- Book over the phone
- Book online
Registering for a GP is a really important thing for all students to do and fortunately it’s quite simple to do. However, if you have any questions, then our friendly on-site team will be glad to help you out.