student smiling


Find out how you can use the UK's free NHS services as an international student, or how to get private healthcare

The UK has a National Health Service (NHS) – so unlike many other regions and countries around the world, healthcare is funded by taxes and is free to British citizens at the point of delivery.

If you join us on a full-time course for more than 6 months, you will be subject to the Immigration Health Surcharge of £300 per year (£470 per year from 1 October 2020), payable with your visa application. This helps cover your NHS costs while you're in the UK, so you can access NHS services whenever you need them.

If you have any dependants living permanently with you for the duration of your course, they must also pay the surcharge. You'll all need to pay any additional statutory NHS charges, like any prescriptions.

If you're from the European Economic Area (EEA), you should get a European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) before coming to the UK. This card entitles you to full NHS treatment.

Private healthcare

You can choose to take private medical cover if you prefer. We can't recommend any specific medical insurance providers, but all should be able to provide insurance that covers:

  • The cost of bringing a relative to the UK to visit you after a medical emergency or if you get sick
  • The cost of returning to your home country for treatment if this is necessary
  • The cost of returning to your home country if a family member is sick
  • Lost tuition fees if you're unable to complete your course

Healthcare in Portsmouth

We hope you don't need medical attention while you're living in Portsmouth – but if you do, there are plenty of doctor's surgeries in the area. Register with one as soon as you arrive, so you know who to contact if you are ill or injured. For details about registering, contact your chosen surgery directly.

You can also visit St Mary’s NHS Treatment Centre, where no appointments are necessary. The local hospital in Portsmouth is Queen Alexandra Hospital in the north of the city, and this does have an Accident and Emergency department.

In an emergency, you should call 999 and ask for the appropriate emergency service.

For urgent healthcare needs that are not quite emergencies, call 111 – a free service that allows you to speak to NHS staff.

You can also get advice on minor ailments – such as bugs and viruses, minor injuries and aches and pains – from your local pharmacy or chemist. For more information on pharmacists and when they might be able to help, visit PharmacyFirst.

This site uses cookies. Click here to view our cookie policy message.

Accept and close