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In the UK, your basic healthcare will be covered by the National Health Service (NHS) on the basis of being 'ordinarily resident.'  'Ordinarily resident' means, broadly speaking, living in the UK on a lawful and properly settled basis for the time being.  If you meet this requirement you should register with a doctor soon after moving to the UK.  Your health centre will then assign a local doctor to you, often referred to as a GP (General Practitioner).  We suggest you bring any medicines you need with you for the first month to give you time to register with a doctor.

You will not be asked to pay for general consultations at a GP practice or at any hospital, however, you will need to pay for part or all of the cost of prescription medicines. Some, but not all, dental and eye treatments will need to be paid for by the patient. Please refer to the NHS dental service and optician service pages for more information. 

The NHS website provides further information on the services available if you are Moving to England or Visiting England.

Immigration Health Surcharge

If you are applying for a visa you may need to pay a healthcare surcharge (Called the ‘immigration health surcharge’) as part of your visa application process.  The UKVI website provides further details of how and when to pay the surcharge.  This will enable you to use the National Health Service. You will still need to pay for certain types of services, e.g. prescriptions, dental treatment and eye tests.

You will need to take your Biometric Residence Permit (BRP) with you when you access healthcare in the UK. 

BU’s Occupational Health Service

Occupational health is a specialist branch of medicine that is concerned with the effects of work on health and vice versa.  BU offers an Occupational Health to ensure that you and your manager are supported in the management of health and wellbeing in relation to work and work practices. 

Confidential access to advice and support, including counselling is also available to all members of staff via BU's Employee Assistance Programme. This service is available 24 hours, 365 days a year. 

Out of Hours Medical Services

If you require medical assistance outside standard working hours, you can call the local non-emergency medical service telephone line on 111. This line will provide advice and if needed will also organise out of hours care from GPs, community nurses or an ambulance. 

The NHS website provides further details about this service.

For less urgent health needs, contact your GP or local pharmacist.

Emergency Medical Services

The number for emergency medical care services if someone is seriously ill or injured or their life is at risk is 999.  If you are on the University campus, dial 222 from a BU phone of 01202 962222 so that BU staff can help the emergency services access the location easily and quickly.

If someone needs medical help or advice but its not a life threatening situation you can call 111.


The NHS offers dental care however services provided are not free though they are subsidised.  Private dentists also practice in competition with NHS dentists.

There is no need to register with a dentist in the same way as a GP because you are not bound by a catchment area.  You can search for dentists in your area on the NHS website.