Accessing Health Services
National Health Service (NHS)
The National Health Service is the UK’s state health service, which provides treatment for UK residents through a wide range of healthcare services. Some of these services are free and others have to be paid for.
All students (and their dependants) who are studying in the UK for six months or more are entitled to register with the NHS. As a patient, the NHS is accessed through your General Practitioner (GP / Family Doctor). If you are already registered with a GP in the UK and move to Oxford to study, you are advised to register with a local practice.
If you are entitled to NHS treatment then the following services are provided without further charge:
• consulting a GP and most other GP services (e.g. visiting a clinic)
• treatment in a hospital (both emergency and non-emergency)
Services that you may need to pay for are:
• medicines prescribed by your GP
• maternity/midwifery services
• Some GP services such as vaccinations for travel and obtaining a sickness certificate (the GP surgery should have a list of charges for such services)
• dental treatment
• optical treatment
Immigration Health Charge (effective from 6 April 2015)
An immigration health charge for access to NHS treatment was introduced on 6 April 2015 as part of Tier 4 and other visa applications, including for student dependants. The charge must be paid even if you have your own private medical insurance and do not intend to use the NHS.
The charge for a student is currently £300 for each year or part year over six months of the visa being applied for, plus £150 for part of a year that is less than six months, although the exact amount you have to pay depends on how much leave you are granted. Dependants usually pay the same amount as you. You’ll find the most up to date information on charges available at www.gov.uk/healthcare-immigration-application
Students who already have a visa will be covered as normal for NHS treatment unless and until they need to make a further visa application.
Anyone applying for entry clearance of up to six months or less is exempt and will instead have to pay for any healthcare at the point of use. For that reason anyone coming to the UK on a Short-Term Student visa must ensure that they have sufficient private medical and travel insurance.
Comprehensive Sickness Insurance (CSI) for EEA and Swiss students
EEA (including EU) and Swiss students in the UK must have Comprehensive Sickness Insurance (CSI) for the duration of their studies. The European Health Insurance Card (EHIC), obtainable for free from your country of residence, is the most straightforward way of satisfying the CSI requirement. Further information is available from www.ukcisa.org.uk on fulfilling the CSI requirement and also how this is important for any future application for permanent residence.