Health Services in the UK

How the National Health Service (NHS) works and how to find help for physical and mental health problems.

Can I get NHS care?


The NHS does not cover certain medical care, including:

  • Treatments for which there is no scientific evidence of any benefits
  • Cosmetic procedures
  • Treatments for mild conditions which will resolve on their own

If you are not sure where to go for help,  use the NHS Symptom checker which will help you to know whether you can get help from a pharmacy, should see a doctor or need to go to the hospital more urgently.


For example chest pain, breathing difficulty or heavy bleeding.

  • Emergency treatment is free for everyone in the UK.
  • There are Accident and Emergency (A&E) departments at Bristol Royal Infirmary and Southmead hospitals, but waiting times are long and you should only go there if it is a real emergency.
  • You can also call 999 and ask for an ambulance if you are not well enough to travel.

Common illnesses or medical problems

For example fever, cough, rashes, eye infections, vomiting, smaller injuries or unexplained pains.

International Student App

          ‌Your guide to studying in the UK including information on accessing healthcare

Mental Health and your studies

Many students need support with their mental health every year. We know that international students have extra stress with academic assignments which may be different from what they are used to, being far from family and friends and often studying in a second or even third language. 

Asking for help and support early is important and encouraged. The University are keen to support you so you can succeed! 

  • If you are homesick or struggling with stress, complete the request well-being support form
  • The wellbeing team are experienced at working with international students and offer a free and confidential service. They are happy to answer any questions you have. You can choose if you want to accept any support offered or not.
  • You can see your GP (doctor) or a nurse for mental health as well as physical health.
  • Take a look at our mental health pages for more advice and support.
  • The International Student App also has advice on mental health, loneliness and study skills.

Mental health emergencies

  • If you have urgent mental health concerns, such as suicidal thoughts or a mental health crisis, get emergency help.
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