Keeping physically and mentally well is important, to ensure you can study effectively and make the most of your UEA experience.
Accessing Healthcare Services
If you have come to the UK on a Student visa for longer than 6 months, it is very likely that you will have paid Immigration Health Surcharge (IHS) as part of your online visa application. This gives you access to NHS services as if you were a permanent resident of the UK. Some services will still require payment, such as prescription medications, dental treatment, optical exams, and possibly pre-existing conditions.
Visiting for less than 6 months
If you have come to the UK to study for less than 6 months, you may not have paid Immigration Health Surcharge and so will not be eligible for free NHS care. This will include anyone on a Standard Visitor visa. It is, therefore, very important that you make sure you have sufficient private medical insurance to cover your stay in the UK, in case you need to access healthcare services whilst staying here. It is most likely that the services you access will still be provided by the NHS, but this will not be free.
Students from the European Union or Switzerland
Students from the EU or Switzerland who have paid IHS and hold a European Health Insurance Card (EHIC), can apply for an IHS reimbursement from 1 January 2022. If you are from an EU country, this reimbursement will be backdated to include any IHS payments made for a visa starting on or after 1 January 2021. If you are a student from Switzerland, your reimbursement will be backdated to 1 November 2021, even if your visa started before this.
Students have 1 year from the start date of their visa to apply for this reimbursement. You cannot apply for this reimbursement if you are working or intend to work whilst in the UK. You can find more information on the UK Government website.
If you would like to talk to someone about how to access healthcare services in the UK, or have questions about applying for an IHS reimbursement, please contact Student Life International.
GPs are doctors who work in community practices (or surgeries). You should register with a GP as early as you can, after arriving in the UK. Registration is free and is also a requirement of the UEA General Regulations for Students.
In most cases, when you need medical treatment, a GP will be your first point of contact. Most day-to-day illnesses can be managed by your GP; they will refer you to hospital specialists if they are not able to provide the treatment you need. GP surgeries often provide a wide range of community health services, including vaccinations, women's health clinic, family planning, contraception, and sexual health.
There is a GP surgery on campus – UEA Medical Centre - near the Bluebell Road entrance. You should register here if you are living in UEA Accommodation. You can find more information on UEA Medical Centre, including how to register, on the UEA Medical Centre website.
If you are living off-campus but inside Norwich, you can still register with UEA Medical Centre. Alternatively, you can Find a GP near where you live and register with them. If you live outside Norwich, you will need to do this as you cannot register at UEA Medical Centre.
As an overseas visitor, you may be required to attend a TB Screening. This service is free and will be provided by UEA Medical Centre, whether or not you are registered with them. You must be screened for TB at UEA Medical Centre within 28 days of registration at UEA, if your programme of study is longer than 3 months and:
- You are usually resident in a country listed as ‘high risk’ for TB, OR
- You were born in a country listed by as ‘high risk’ for TB, OR
- You have been travelling or living in a country listed as ‘high risk’ for TB for at least six of the last twelve months.
Click the link for the list of TB high risk countries and the contact number to book a screening appointment with UEA Medical Centre.
Staff at UEA Medical Centre specialise in student health, early diagnosis and intervention, and health promotion. Female and male GPs are available, and you can request an appointment with a GP of a specific gender. UEA Medical Centre offers confidential services and can help with:
- Feeling unwell
- Mental health
- TB screening
- Sexual health
- Prescribing medication
- Travel health
- Medical certificates and report
- Referrals to hospital
If you are visiting UEA for less than three months, UEA Medical Centre can see you free of charge e if your treatment is immediately necessary or urgent (i.e. something that cannot wait until you return home).
Students at UEA for between three and six months can register at UEA Medical Centre for primary care (GP) services but may be required to pay for secondary care (hospital) services.
Students visiting UEA for 6 months or more are eligible to register fully for primary and secondary care services. You will likely have paid IHS as part of your visa application, which will enable you to access most services free of charge.
Information - To find information for yourself, you can visit www.nhs.uk or www.patient.co.uk
Pharmacy - Pharmacies offer some clinical advice and over-the-counter medicines for a range of minor illnesses, including coughs & colds, sore throats, and minor aches & pains. There is a Boots Pharmacy at UEA Medical Centre.
GP - Doctors and Nurses at GP Surgeries can offer appointments to discuss medical issues and prescribe treatments. Appointments can be booked in advance, offered urgently 'on-the-day', or offered at regular clinics.
Call 111 - You can dial 111 from a landline or mobile phone for non-emergency, out-of-hours advice. You can also visit 111.nhs.uk
Walk-in - Out-of-hours medical care can be accessed at the Norwich Walk-in Centre at Rouen House, Rouen Road, Norwich, NR1 1RB
A&E - Accident and Emergency Departments (A&E) in hospitals are for emergencies only. If you are unsure, you can call NHS 111 first. They will be able to tell you if you need to go to A&E.
Call 999 - In an emergency, call 999 immediately.
If you studied at INTO with a visa shorter than 6 months and applied to renew your Student visa in the UK to undertake your UEA course, you will need to ensure that your private medical insurance continues to cover you until your new visa is granted. Coverage under IHS will not begin until the start date of your new visa. Access to NHS services without insurance or IHS coverage can be very expensive.
We recommend that you register with a dentist whilst at UEA. Patients accessing dental services will still incur charges, even where they are entitled to free NHS care. These charges are regulated and are lower than accessing dental treatment with a private dentist.
You can register with the dental practice at UEA Medical Centre, if you wish. Alternatively, there are other NHS dentists available in Norwich. You do not need to speak with a GP before going to see a dentist.
Optical services are generally provided by private companies in the UK, such as Specsavers, Boots, or Vision Express. These are just some examples, but there are many to choose from in Norwich. Eye tests, glasses and contact lenses will need to be paid for - these are not provided freely on the NHS. The costs can vary widely, depending on the lenses and frames required.
Mental Health and Wellbeing
If you are experiencing difficulties with your wellbeing or mental health, you can seek free and confidential support from:
- Your GP
- UEA Student Services - Wellbeing Team - who have a range of online resources available as well as a team of advisers here to offer support.
- Health Assured* - a 24-hour helpline staffed by experienced advisers or fully qualified therapists. (*UEA Log in required)
If you are facing an emergency where you do not feel you can keep yourself safe, or someone else's life is at risk, you should call 999. Both mental and physical health emergencies can be handled this way.
Sexual Health and family planning services are available at UEA Medical Centre and other services across Norwich. Services are free, confidential, and can be accessed for advice and information, as well as for treatment. You can access these services for:
- Contraception (birth control)
- Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs)
- Sexual Health Screening
- Pregnancy testing and questions about pregnancy iCash on Oak Street, Norwich, is an alternative NHS-funded clinic that also offers free contraceptive and sexual health services.
iCash on Oak Street, Norwich, is an alternative NHS-funded clinic that also offers free contraceptive and sexual health services.
Babies born in the UK are covered by their mother’s Immigration Health Surcharge until they are three months old. After this, they will require their own dependant visa and IHS coverage. If you would like support with this application, please contact Student Life International. More information can also be found on UKCISA's website.