Health checklist for international students

As an international student, there are a few things you should do to help keep healthy and well.

1. Understand how healthcare works in the UK

Healthcare in the UK may work differently to what you are used to at home. Take some time to understand the types of services available through the National Health Service (NHS) and how you can access these. View our information about health care for international students, including emergency and non-emergency care.

2. Be prepared

If you have any ongoing health conditions, disabilities or illnesses, you might find it helpful to bring a letter from your home doctor explaining these, so that you can share it with your doctor in the UK.

If you take any medicines, you may want to bring copies of prescriptions or details of these medicines. Make sure you have enough medicine to last until you are able to register with a GP in the UK.

Similarly, if you wear glasses, you might find it helpful to have a copy of your most recent prescription/eye test in case you need to replace your glasses.

3. Register with a GP

It is important to register with a GP (general practitioner - doctor) whilst studying. You should do this as soon as possible, rather than waiting until you feel unwell.

How to register with a GP

4. Know your numbers

The emergency services number in the UK is 999 (112 can also be used) and is the same for the ambulance, the police and the fire brigade. This should only be used in emergencies - find out when to call 999 for medical reasons.

NHS 111 is the non-emergency number for advice and guidance to help you get the best medical care for you. Phone them if you're not sure what type of care you need. Simply dial 111 from your phone - they are open 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. 

Need to talk? Nightline is a confidential support and information service run during term-time by students at the University of Birmingham. 

5. Get your Men ACWY and MMR vaccine

New students are considered to be particularly at risk of meningitis and septicaemia (also called sepsis or blood poisoning). You are strongly encouraged to speak to your doctor about having the Men ACWY vaccine a few weeks before the start of term, or as soon as possible - your GP may already have contacted you.

International students and those not offered the vaccine by their GP should request it when registering with a GP, which you should do as soon as you arrive at University.

Make sure you know the signs and symptoms of meningitis and septicaemia.

MMR is a safe and effective combined vaccine that protects against three separate illnesses – measles, mumps and rubella (German measles) – in a single injection.  These are highly infectious diseases which can have serious complications. The full course of MMR vaccination requires two doses.

Find out about the Men ACWY vaccine Find out about the MMR vaccine

6. Disclose a disability

Telling us about any disabilities you have enables us to give you appropriate advice and support. At the University, a disability may be a long-term health condition, physical or sensory impairment, a mental health difficulty, autism, Asperger’s syndrome and specific learning disabilities, such as dyslexia, dyspraxia and dyscalculia. 

We strongly encourage students to tell us about a disability as early as possible, even if you feel you don't need any support yet. Registering your disability with us early means we can support you more quickly if you do need it in the future.

Tell us about a disability

Please disclose your disability as soon as possible, even if you do not currently require any of our services. This will ensure we can help you as quickly as possible if you need any support in the future, and we may be able to offer alternative examination arrangements, such as the use of a computer or additional rest breaks.


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