Healthcare for International Students

University Health Service Registration

If you decide to live in Treforest or Pontypridd it is advisable for you to register with the on campus Health Service as health problems could occur any time during your stay. The registration forms are available at the Wellbeing service or via UniLife by searching Health Registration

Students living in Cardiff or Newport Please use the
NHS Wales link to use your address postcode to find out the nearest surgery to where you are going to be living

To see a nurse on campus

Pontypridd Cardiff: and Newport: We offer a nurse led appointment service. Please ensure you complete the on line Health registration form first and then book appointments online through Advice Zone Online. Depending on your needs the Nurse may offer advice on how to treat your illness by a number of ways. This could include over the counter medication that you can purchase yourself from a pharmacy or supermarket and if needed an appointment with your GP. If you are worried about any health issue, please book an appointment to talk in confidence to the nurses.

Health Service at Cardiff
Nurse led appointments are available at Cardiff on Thursday and Friday until the end of term in Dec and then Tuesdays and Thursdays from January 2019.

If you wish to register with a GP surgery in Cardiff please use the
NHS Wales link to use your Cardiff address postcode to find out the nearest surgery to where you are going to be living

National Health Service Registration

If you have paid the immigration health surcharge for your current period of immigration permission then you will qualify for free NHS hospital treatment on the same basis as anyone who is ordinarily resident in the UK. You must be pursuing a full-time course which is at least six months long to qualify. This is stated on the Welsh Government’s website.
Registering with a local GP surgery will allow you free NHS treatment. Please complete the on line Health registration form via UniLife. When you have completed the registration form, make an appointment with a Nurse to discuss your medical history. It is important that you tell the nurse about any illness or investigations you have had in the past. If you are receiving any treatment or are disabled as a result of a medical condition*please bring information in English from your doctor at home*.

If you move to a different area, you will need to re-register with a doctor. Contact the USW Health Service for details, alternatively we offer a “drop in” between 2pm – 3pm in H016 Mon – Fri during term time

Pontypridd campus You can register with a GP at the Health Centre if you are living locally (in Treforest / Pontypridd area).

Other ways of accessing health advice

Your local Pharmacist can also offer you advice Free of charge through the Common Ailment Service

Minor illness

For minor problems like sore throats/coughs/colds and flu like illnesses you DO NOT need to see a doctor. It is advisable to :

  • Take regular paracetamol
  • Drink plenty of fluids
  • Suck menthol lozenges
  • Make sure you get plenty of rest

alternatively VISIT YOUR LOCAL PHARMACY for advice. You will be expected to buy your own medicines in this case.

To see a doctor

You will need to book an appointment at your doctor’s surgery. You will not have to pay if your course is for longer than 6 months.

  • Please attend at the time you are given.
  • Doctors do not always give prescriptions and may recommend medicine that you can buy.
  • Antibiotics are only prescribed for serious infections and not generally for illnesses such as sore throats and flu like illness.
  • Doctors in the UK do not routinely do blood tests unless there are symptoms to indicate that they are required.

If you need to be referred to hospital you will have to wait for an appointment to be sent to you in the post. This can take some months or longer in conditions which are not considered urgent.

Pontypridd campus If you are registered with Ashgrove surgery, and you want to see a doctor on campus, you can book an appointment with the Nurse as it may be something she can deal with quicker, alternatively you can attend the “drop in” between 2- 3pm Mon – Fri in H016 to book an appointment.



Out of hours illness

If you are ill after your doctor’s surgery is closed you can phone NHS Direct Wales on 0845 46 47. Calls to the 24 hour helpline can be taken in several languages through a translator. Staff will advise you on what you need to do. They may suggest self care, or may give you the telephone number of the local out of hours service. Very rarely they may suggest you go straight to the Accident and Emergency unit at the local hospital.
Please note : Accident and Emergency units do not treat minor infections/illnesses and will refer you back to your gp for this type of care.

Serious accident/ emergency

If a serious accident or medical emergency occurs

  • dial 999 from any telephone. You will be asked whether you require police, ambulance or fire service. You will need to speak clearly and calmly and give information of where you are and what the problem is.
  • if you’re on one of our campuses, call security to notify them that an ambulance will be attending so that they can direct the ambulance to the correct location.

For all Medical emergencies on campus dial 55555 from an internal phone or 01443 4 8 55555 via mobiles to speak with Security

Dental Care

Dental care is offered by the NHS, but you will still be asked to pay for certain treatments. You can find a dentist through NHS Direct Wales

Some dentists only undertake private work so check before you go that the dentist does treat NHS patients. Always ask how much any treatment costs before you begin. You will need your NHS number for the dentist. This will be sent to you in the post approximately 2 months after you have registered with a Doctor.

Dental Emergency

Phone your dentist first as most NHS dentists offer urgent appointments on the day. If you are not registered with a dentist, phone NHS Direct Wales on 0845 46 47 for advice.

Optical Treatment

You can attend any high street Optician for a sight test. Dental care in the UK is NOT FREE unless you are under the age of 19. You have to pay for any consultation and for glasses or contact lenses unless you meet the eligibility criteria for help with eye care costs.
For Urgent eye problems other than for sight tests can be seen Free under the Welsh eye care service Contact any high street optician in this situation.

Help towards NHS costs

You need to fill out form HC1W (available from the USW Health Centre) and send to the Benefits Agency in the pre paid envelope provided. Your claim will be assessed and you can receive either an HC2 for full help or HC3 for limited help towards costs.

Further information

Frequently Asked Questions

1) What is the National Health Service

The National Health Service (NHS) is the UK’s health service which provides medical treatment

2) Is it available to all?

No. To qualify for NHS treatment (apart from treatment in an emergency) you must meet certain conditions.

3) What are the conditions?

If your course is less than 6 months you will not be entitled to NHS treatment except in an emergency. Doctors may agree to treat you free of charge if treatment cannot be delayed until you return home. Otherwise, you will need to pay for treatment as a private patient and this can be expensive. So you will need to take out private medical insurance if your course is less than 6 months.

4) What if I am an EEA national on a course of less than 6 months?

You should obtain your European Health Insurance Card ( EHIC ) in your country before coming. This will entitle you to NHS treatment but in some cases you may have to pay and claim your money back when you return home.

5) What if my course is longer than 6 months?

You will qualify for the same NHS treatments as UK residents. Prescription medication is free in Wales. . Dental treatment is NOT free. If you are under 25, you will be entitled to a free dental check up annually but all treatments will be need to be paid for.

6) Am I eligible for help towards these NHS costs on grounds of low income?

To find out whether you are eligible for help towards NHS costs like dental and optical costs you need to fill out form HC1W available from the Health Centre and send this to the Benefits Agency in the pre paid envelope provided. They will assess your claim and let you know whether you have to pay or not. An HC2 exemption entitles you to full help and an HC3 entitles you to limited help which will be outlined on the form.

7) Does my country have a reciprocal health care agreement?

Some countries have reciprocal agreements with the UK. You can check whether this applies to your country at:

8) What if I come from a country with a high incidence of TB?

You may need to have a test for TB before you can apply for your visa. When you register at the Health Centre you will be given information on TB and the symptoms to look out for.

Further information on TB is available from: