Healthcare in the UK

Healthcare in the UK is mainly provided through the National Health Service (NHS). We discuss who can access NHS services and what NHS services will be available to you during your studies or duration of your visa.

NHS Student Health Hub - for students in Glasgow

The NHS Student Health Hub offers useful information about NHS health services for current and new students living in Glasgow.  This dedicated resource helps you access the right NHS support at the right time.  

Please also see the NHS Student Checklist here .

NHS Health Care

You can find information on who is eligible to access healthcare from the NHS and what sort of health services you can access on the Scottish NHS Inform webpages and the Guide to NHS Health Care in Scotland .

You may also wish to download the NHS 24 Online app for Scotland to identify appropriate self-care, find your nearest health services and to get virtual assistance.


NHS: vaccinations for students

Please see the NHS Inform webpages for details about vaccines for students.

UK study visa holders

See NHS treatment for overseas students in the UK for the NHS services and treatment you can access while living in the UK on a valid Student visa.

Student visa holders:

Student visa is longer than 6 months: You will have paid the Immigration Health Surcharge (IHS) when applying for your Student visa (unless you were exempt).  The IHS payment goes toward the costs of accessing NHS healthcare over the duration of a valid Student visa.

Student visa is for less than 6 months: You will not have paid the Immigration Health Surcharge (IHS) as part of applying for your visa.  It is recommended that you apply for health insurance that will cover the costs of any NHS or private healthcare you access while you are living in the UK on your visa.  See the UKCISA webpages for information on private health insurance. 

Standard Visitor visa or leave holders (e.g. for study up to 6 months or less): You will not have paid the IHS when you made your visa application.  It is recommended that you apply for health insurance that will cover the costs of any NHS or private healthcare you access while you are living in the UK.  See the UKCISA webpages for further information private health insurance.


EU, EEA and Swiss nationals: EU Settlement Scheme

Please see the UKVI webpages for details of your rights when living in the UK under valid pre-settled or settled status, including access to NHS health care in the UK.  The NHS Inform webpages discuss details of NHS services and treatments you can access in Scotland.


Registering with a GP (doctor)

In Scotland, doctors are also referred to as "General Practitioners" or as a "GP". They work in medical surgeries, medical practices or health centres and a GP will be the first point of contact for your health needs.  International Students should initially contact the GP in relation to health conditions, including those they already have a diagnosis for (or where they are seeking a diagnosis), including mental health issues, in the first instance.   

If your GP advises you that you need to see another health professional (for example a specialist in a hospital or someone in a specialist service) they will organise the referral for you.

How to register with a GP:

  • You should register with a General Practitioner (GP) as soon as possible after you arrive in Scotland and have completed Registration and Enrolment as a University of Glasgow student.  Please do not wait until you are unwell as this may delay treatment. 
  • You will need to provide proof of your student status (certifying letter), your passport/national identity card and your visa (or EUSS pre-settled or settled status) in order to register.
  • To find your local GP, select 'GP practices' from the dropdown menu in the Services Directory section of the Scottish NHS Inform webpage and enter the postcode of your term-time UK address. 


If your doctor issues you with a prescription for an item of medicine, you will need to collect the item from a chemist. There is no charge for prescriptions in Scotland.

Registering with a dentist

When making your first appointment with a dentist, you should first of all check that he/she will accept you as a patient under the National Health Service. Otherwise, you may be treated as a private patient, which will cost more than the usual NHS charge.

You must be registered with a doctor before being entitled to be treated by a dentist under the NHS.  Take the contact details (address and telephone number) of your GP surgery when you go to register with the dentist.  NHS dentistry is not free of charge, however is cheaper than accessing a private dentistry.  See the NHS Inform webpages for details of prices for NHS dental treatment.

See the NHS Inform webpages to find your local NHS dentist and their information on receiving NHS dental treatment in Scotland.


Please see the NHS Inform webpages for information on the different services you can access for eye and sight health care and here to find your nearest opticians in Glasgow.

NHS 24 and Out of Hours Care

NHS 24 phone service - 111

NHS 24 is a telephone advice and triage service that covers the out of hours period when your GP surgery is closed and you are too ill to wait until it re-opens.  You can access this service 24 hours a day, 365 days per year.  You will speak to a suitable health professional who will talk to you about your symptoms and tell you what you need to do; such as treating yourself at home or going to see a doctor.

You can contact the NHS 24 phone service by dialing 111.  This is a free service.

NHS 24 online resources

NHS 24 provides a number of online tools and resources to help you manage your health and find health services in your area through the NHS inform website.

NHS Pharmacy First - minor illnesses

NHS Pharmacy First Scotland is an NHS service provided by your local community pharmacy.  You can access this is you are registered with a GP in Scotland. 

If you have a minor illness, a pharmacy is the first place you should go for advice.  You do not usually need an appointment and you can go to any pharmacy.

Accident & Emergency / Out of Hours Care:

You can check your nearest Accident and Emergency location on the NHS Inform webpages.