Do I have to pay for medical treatment here in Cardiff?

Students holding Tier 4 student or Tier 4 dependant visas who come to the UK to study on a course which is 6 months or longer, are eligible for full health care under the National Health Service (NHS) on the same basis as anyone who is ordinarily resident in the UK. This includes hospital treatment as an in-patient, treatment of any pre-existing conditions you may have as well as registering with a General Practitioner (Doctor).

Prescriptions issued by the doctor are free of charge to everyone in Wales. Eye tests and dental treatment however, you will have to pay for as these are not covered by the NHS.

Even if  you are entitled to free NHS treatment whilst in the UK, you should consider  taking out insurance which covers other medical-related costs. There is often a long wait for NHS treatment, sometimes many months.  An insurance policy which gives you access to private medical care could give you much quicker access to the treatment you need.

Student Visitor visa holders and students studying on courses of less than 6 months are strongly advised to take out medical insurance for the whole duration of the course. Taking out health insurance is also advised in case of emergencies. For example if you were required to return home as the NHS would not cover this cost. Please see website below for more helpful information:

How do I register with a doctor?

In the UK in order to see a Doctor, you must register with your local Doctor. If you are unsure how to locate the Doctor's Surgery/Practise (often called a GP/General Practitioner you can search for by clicking here.

When registering with a doctor, you will need to take with you your passport and proof that you are a student (e.g. your student ID card) and possibly proof of address. You should ask to be registered as an NHS patient. You will be asked to complete a registration form, this could be paper or online. This will allow the surgery to keep your details securely on file. Most doctors' surgeries have male and female doctors so please specify if you have a preference. It might not always be possible to see a doctor on the day you register so please ensure that you register with a doctor as soon as possible after arriving to Cardiff and securing your permanent address.

If you would like to receive free medical advice in a non-emergency situation without going to your doctor you can contact NHS Direct. NHS Direct is a national health line which provides expert health advice and information relating to all health related queries. The health line is operated by qualified health professionals who aim to give you the best advice possible. The NHS Direct helpline is open 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. The telephone number is 0845 46 47.

Can I register with a dentist?​​

As you are an international student studying at a UK university, you are entitled to register with a dentist free of charge. The following link will take you to the dentists in Cardiff who are currently registering NHS patients free of charge: 

For dental emergencies contact your own dental practice. If you have not yet registered with a dentist, you will need to contact the Dental Hospital located in the University Hospital of Wales. 

The Dental Hospital, University Hospital of Wales, Heath Park, Cardiff. Telephone: 029 2074 7747, 029 2074 2413 and 029 2074 5337. 

There are two sessions per day, Monday – Friday (you are advised to arrive about 8.00am to reserve a space). All appointments are on a first come first served basis.

What do I do if there is a medical emergency?​

If an emergency situation arises during your stay in the UK, you should contact the following emergency services, free of charge from any phone: 

Fire Brigade 999 Police 999 Ambulance (Medical Emergency only) 999 

Please remember that if you call 999 try to stay calm and be aware that you will be asked the following information: What service do you require (Fire brigade, Police or Ambulance). You will then be asked what is the emergency and details including age of the person, name of the person.

If you are involved in/or a witness to an emergency situation, this is likely to be a very stressful time for you. Please contact the International Office Welfare Team for support and advice as soon as possible and they will be able to help you. If an emergency occurs outside office hours or on a weekend, please call the university on 029 2041 6070 and ensure that you inform the International Office the following day.