Your health is important. Here are a few things to sort out before you start at King’s College London.
When you arrive at your place of study you should register with a local doctor ('GP', General Practitioner) as soon as possible. These doctors are trained and experienced in diagnosing a wide range of health problems.
How do I register with a G.P.?
It is essential that you register with a local GP as soon as you get to University so that you can access primary NHS services. If you live within the catchment area, you can register with King’s College NHS Health Centre.
King’s College Health Centre is an NHS General Practice for staff and students of King’s College London only.
King’s College Health Centre has an International Student booklet, which explains a bit more about how the NHS works.
Do I need any vaccinations before I get to University?
Details of recommended vaccines can be found in the Immunisations sections on our Services pages.
Can I access more of my prescribed medication in the U.K.?
We can prescribe some of the more common medications such as asthma inhalers, insulin, acne treatment, antidepressants and contraceptive tablets. You must make an appointment with your permanent GP to discuss this once you register.
To make things as easy as possible, remember to bring your existing medication or prescription with you to the appointment and if possible any specialist letters or results of recent tests.
Please bear in mind that you may be given slightly different medication from the one originally prescribed, as local protocols vary and some medications from abroad are not available in the UK.
In some cases, you will need to be referred to a local specialist before your medication is prescribed. Sometimes, it may actually be easier to get supplies of your medication posted from home. This is particularly true of some American medications for ADHD (attention deficit hyperactivity disorder), which are not the same in Britain.
How do I find a dental surgery?
Dentists work independently from GPs. Check NHS Choices for a dentist near to where you live.
How do I find an optician?
Opticians are also independent from GPs. Check NHS Choices for an optician near to where you live.
Is everything on the NHS free?
Accident and Emergency Departments are for serious, life-threatening injuries and illnesses only. There is no charge for true emergencies, although if you are admitted to the hospital or referred to an outpatient clinic, this will then incur a charge unless you are an NHS patient. The nearest A&E department to the Strand Campus is St Thomas’ Hospital.
There is also plenty of information available online for dealing with minor ailments.
Seeing a nurse, doctor or other healthcare professional (e.g. physiotherapist, dietician) is normally free. Procedures and operations on the NHS are also free. This does not include some surgery such as most cosmetic operations. Also what you are charged for will depend on your eligibility for 'secondary' NHS care as above.
There is a flat charge of £8.40 per prescribed medication on the NHS, although contraception is free. Some medicines such as Malaria tablets are not prescribed on the NHS and you will need to pay the cost price of the medicine plus a charge for a private prescription. Some vaccinations such as MMR and meningitis C are free. Others such as travel vaccines (see our Travel clinic section on our Services pages) incur a charge.
Some students qualify for free prescriptions for medical reasons or if on low income. You will need to complete and send off an “HC1 form” before you can receive this help. People with some medical conditions e.g. diabetes, hypothyroidism and also pregnant women are also entitled to free prescriptions. Your doctor will complete a medical exemption form and send it off if this is the case.
Where else can I get medical help?
Pharmacists can often advise on minor ailments such as coughs and colds, mild acne, cuts and bruises, warts and verrucas, hayfever, BU and thrush, fungal nail infections, period pain etc. You can access a wider range of medication from a Pharmacist than you can at a supermarket.
Opticians not only provide spectacles for correcting short or long sightedness but can also check the general health of the eye, including the eye pressure and also the health of the retina.
Dentists can provide advice and treatment for all aspects of mouth and dental care. They are separate from GP surgeries. To register with an NHS Dentist you will need to quote your NHS number. You will receive this in the post 2-3 months after you first register with a GP in the UK.
Here are some useful websites which provide advice and information on common ailments:-
What Should I Do? - promoting self-care in the community.
NHS direct - delivering multi channel health services for patients.
Self Care Forum - helping people take care of themselves
Immigration Health Surcharge- Questions and answers
Home Office - UK Border Agency
UK Council for International Student Affairs
Help with Health Costs - provides exemption certificates to those entitled and sends Prescription Pre-Payment Certificates (PPCs). Follow the link for more information on PPCs, Low Income Scheme, Medical Exemption, Pregnant Women and those who have had a baby in the last 12 months, Tax Credits and applying for a European Health Insurance Card (EHIC).
Information for visitors to England - Accessing health services while in England.