International Student Advisors' Office

International Student Advisors' Office


Registering with a GP

In the UK you need to register with a GP (General Practitioner) every time you move to a new area.

Once you have found your accommodation you should look for GPs in your area and register with one of them. You shouldn't wait to be ill or require treatment to register. Registering with a GP is simple, you only need to visit the local surgery you would like to register with and they will normally ask you to complete a form (usually the GMS1 form) you will then be invited to make an appointment for a health check within six months.

Students living within the City of Edinburgh boundary can register with the University Health Service on Campus or with a local GP (proof of study required). If you have any difficulty finding a local GP then you can search based on your UK postcode.

For more information, see the General Practitioners (GPs)/Family Doctors page on the NHS Lothian website.

Please note students and their families should register with the same GP in the area where they are living. Most students and their dependants will qualify for free UK National Health Service (NHS) medical treatment, however there are waiting lists for free consultations with certain medical specialists and for non-emergency hospital treatment.

For more information about Healthcare for International Students, please visit the University Health Service's web pages.


Once you have found your accommodation you should look for NHS Dentists in your area and register with one of them.

The University Health Centre on the Edinburgh Campus has an NHS dental practice with one full-time dentist.

There are no dental practices at the Scottish Borders or Orkney Campuses. Students can obtain information about local dentists from their Student Advisor.

Under the NHS, all adult patients (over 18 years or full-time students over 19) must pay 80% of the cost of their dental treatment.

To find contact details of an NHS dentist in your area, please contact the NHS Lothian board on 0131 537 8424. Alternatively, search for a dentist in your area.

For more information about dental services, please visit the NHS Lothian website.


In Scotland the NHS pay for your eye test but rarely contribute towards the cost of glasses or contact lenses. Search for an optician in your area.


Since 1 April 2011, prescriptions are free of charge in Scotland.

Prescriptions issued by the doctor must be taken to a chemist (pharmacist) for dispensing. Search for a pharmacist in your area.

However, at the Edinburgh Campus, students (proof of study required) can hand in their prescriptions at the University Health Centre and the medicine will normally be available for collection a few hours later.

Certain medicines for self administration (e.g. paracetamol, cough syrup) may be bought at local chemists or supermarkets without prescriptions.

If you have any pre-existing medical conditions you can also contact the University Health Service before travelling to the UK for advice on treatment options and support available in the UK, and to check whether it would be worth purchasing a medical insurance policy. For more information, contact the University Health Service.

Health Insurance

You may wish to take out insurance to cover the cost of private healthcare, treatment from dentists and opticians or if you are a Non EEA student coming to study in the UK for less than 6 months.

Endsleigh offers an insurance policy specifically designed for international students.

Accident and Emergency (A&E)

In the UK the Emergency Services for ambulance, fire and police services can be contacted by dialling 999.

Emergency medical help and advice is available 24 hours a day.

Students living on-campus should, in the first instance, contact their Duty Warden or the Control Janitor in the case of emergencies outside of normal surgery hours.

Students living outside the Campus should contact their registered doctor first or, if the condition is serious, call for an ambulance or go directly to the hospital (Accident and Emergency Department (A&E))

For further information about A&E in Edinburgh, please visit the NHS Lothian website.

For further information about healthcare, contact the University Health Service.

Stress Help


If you think you are not coping, don't be afraid to ask for help!


Useful additional information about healthcare is available for EEA and NON EEA students and their dependants on theUKCISA website

Banner images courtesy of Edinburgh Inspiring Capital