Using the National Health Service (NHS)

Students of any nationality on a course of study of six months or more qualify for NHS treatment from the beginning of their stay. This means that you can access free NHS health care provision, and you can register with an NHS doctor - known in the UK as a General Practitioner (GP).  Most GPs work together in groups, known as GP Surgeries.  You will normally register as an NHS patient with a GP Surgery, rather than with an individual doctor. You should register with a GP surgery as soon as you arrive in the UK - do not wait until you become unwell, as you may not be able to get the health care you need. 

If you are living at the Mile End campus, or in postcodes E1, E2, E3 or E14, you can register with the QMUL Student Health Service (SHS) on campus. If you do not live locally, you should register with an NHS GP surgery near to where you live. You can search for a GP Surgery online, using the post code for the address where you are living in the UK. 

The Immigration Health Surcharge
All non-EEA nationals who apply to come to the UK, or to extend their stay in the UK, for work, study, or to join family for a time-limited period of more than six months, have to pay an Immigration Health Surcharge so that you can have access to hospital treatment from the NHS (National Health Service) while you are in the UK. What you will need to pay will be based on the length of immigration permission you will be granted, including the time you are given before and after the course dates. The IHS is calculated at £75 for each six month period of immigration permission, rounded up to six months. This charge has to be paid when you make your immigration application. You will find more information about this, including how to calculate the charge, in our Tier 4 guidance

I am studying on a course of less than 6 months

You are still able to use the QMUL Student Health Service (SHS). This means that you can see a doctor (GP) when you need to, and can be referred for any follow up medical care that might be necessary. However, you will not be able to register with the SHS as an NHS patient.  This means that you should simply contact the SHS when you need to see a doctor. You will be charged a fee for a consultation with a doctor, and for any subsequent consultations or medical treatment.  You will need to pay in cash for your consultation with a doctor at the SHS, as card payment facilities are not available. You will be given a receipt for your payment, which you can then use for your medical insurance provider.  

All international students coming to the UK to study on a course of less than 6 months must have adequate medical insurance before travelling. The only free treatment you can receive in the UK is initial treatment in an emergency.

What if I have a baby in the UK?

As explained above, most international students and their dependants making immigration applications are required to pay an Immigration Health Surharge (IHS) to cover entitlement to National Health Service (NHS) hospital treatment in the UK. Entitlement to seeing an NHS General Practitioner (GP) doctor is automatically available to all international students and their dependants when the student is studying on a course of six months or more, but the IHS is required for free NHS hospital treatment.

A baby who is born in the UK is exempt from paying charges for NHS hospital treatment while they are aged 3 months or less. Therefore if you would like your baby to be able to get free hospital treatment after 3 months, you can make a Tier 4 Dependant application for them. Alternatively, you may decide to pay for private medical insurance for your baby. There is information about how to apply for immigration permission for babies born in the UK on the UKCISA website.

I am an EEA national

Most students are able to obtain a European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) from their country of residence prior to coming to the UK. This card allows EEA nationals to get the same medical treatment, which is free to residents of the country they are visiting, without being charged. The UK government has produced a leaflet about EHIC and access to medical treatment while in the UK.

In addition, if you are exercising your right to reside in the UK as a student or self-sufficient person, you are required to have comprehensive sickness insurance throughout your period of residence in the UK. Having an EHIC satisfies this requirement if you are not intending to be in the UK permanently.

It is important that you obtain this card before you leave your country of residence. If you have lost or forgotten your EHIC, you may be able to obtain a 'provisional replacement certificate'. This document is equivalent to the European Health Insurance Card. The website of the European Commission says: "It acts as a replacement if the European Health Insurance Cardholder has lost or forgotten his Card, or if the sickness insurance institution is unable to issue the applicant with a European Health Insurance Card prior to his departure. It has the same value as the European Health Insurance Card."

You cannot apply for this card in the UK and without it you could be charged for using the NHS unless you have alternative, adequate medical insurance.

If you want to learn more about using your EHIC, use this app in 25 languages.

Every member state of the European Economic Area provides information about how to apply for an EHIC in that country.

QMUL Student Health Service (SHS)

The Student Health Service improves our students’ physical and mental health and wellbeing by providing an on-campus (Mile End), weekday NHS medical service for students living in QMUL halls of residence, or off-campus within Tower Hamlets. Students can see a doctor or nurse there every weekday the main university term time

The Student Health Service is based in the ground floor of the Geography building at the Mile End campus of QMUL.

To register with the SHS, you must live on campus or in the local area - in post code areas E1, E2, E3 and E14. You can register online

If you do not live on campus or in the post codes mentioned, and you have an urgent medical need while you are on the QMUL campus, the SHS will normally be able to see you as a temporary patient. However, if you are studying on a course of 6 months or more you should still register with a GP surgery near to where you live as soon as you arrive in the UK, as this is where you will normally be seen for your health care.

Outside of the main university term-time the Student Health Service is closed, and instead you can make an appointment at Globe Town surgery, 82-86 Roman Road, London, E2 0PJ. Visit the Globe Town Surgery website for more details.

For details about out of hours emergency cover see the Globe Town Surgery website.

Medical emergencies

An emergency is a critical or life-threatening situation. In many cases the quickest way to get help is to go to your nearest A&E (Accident & Emergency) department which are open 24 hours a day. A&E departments are located in certain hospitals. You can use the "Find and choose" service on the NHS website to find your nearest A&E. The closest A&E to the Mile End campus is at The Royal London Hospital, opposite Whitechapel underground station. You can get directions here. If you think immediate treatment by paramedics is needed call 999 for an ambulance.

Walk-in centres

Walk-in centres deal with minor illnesses and injuries.  They are usually managed by a nurse and are available to everyone - you don't need an appointment. You can use the "Find and choose" service on the NHS website to look for your nearest walk-in centre.


A list of pharmacies located near to QMUL can be obtained from the Student Health Service and the Occupational Health Service which are both located on the ground floor of the Geography Building on the Mile End campus. Alternatively, you can use the "Find and choose" service on the NHS website to find a local pharmacy.

Dental care

You can use the "Find and choose" service on the NHS website to find a local dentist to register with.


A list of opticians located near to QMUL can be obtained from the Student Health Service and the Occupational Health Service which are both located on the ground floor of the Geography Building on the Mile End Campus. Alternatively, you can use the "Find and choose" service on the NHS website to find a local optician.

Useful information

NHS 111 - You can call 111 when you need medical help fast but it’s not an emergency (in an emergency you call 999). You can call 111 for medical advice over the phone, and they will advise you about what you need to do, whether this is healthcare advice or directing you to local medical care. You can call 24 hours a day, and calls are free from landlines and also from mobile phones. There is also a confidential interpreter service, which is available in many languages. Simply mention the language you wish to use when the NHS 111 operator answers your call.

UKCISA's Health and Healthcare web pages - Find out what National Health Service treatment you are entitled to, what services are free of charge and general advice about keeping healthy during your studies in the UK.

Samaritans This is a confidential service, where you can talk about any difficult thoughts or feelings that you are worried or unhappy about, if you feel you would like some support. You can call and talk to someone 24-hours a day, on 08457 90 90 90. You can also email Or you can drop in and talk to someone in person at the central London branch in Soho between 9am and 9pm every day of the year - you don't need an appointment, but you may have to wait a short time before speaking to someone. 

Nightline This is a confidential listening, support and practical information service for students in London. It is open from 6pm to 8am every night of term.You can call 020 7631 0101 or email

There is lots of useful information about support with emotional well-being on our Advice and Counselling Service webpages.

Law, regulations and policies can change quickly. The information on our website is given in good faith and has been carefully checked but QMUL cannot accept responsibility for any errors or omissions. QMUL is not responsible for the content or reliability of the linked websites which are provided for further information.