Healthcare for International Students

University Health Service Registration

It is advisable to register with us as health problems can occur during your stay. Our reception or nursing staff will give you the forms required.

To see a nurse on campus

Pontypridd and Newport: We offer a nurse led drop-in and appointment service. You can book appointments online through UniLife. The nurses will assess you and offer you advice on how to treat your illness.The Nurses will advise you regarding“over the counter” medication that you can purchase yourself from a pharmacy or supermarket. If you are worried about any health issue, please book an appointment to talk in confidence to the nurses.

Health Service at Cardiff
As of Sept 2017 there will NO longer be a visiting GP
service at the Atrium. 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
during 2017-18.See Healthcare Options in Cardiff for more information

National Health Service Registration

Registering with a local GP surgery will allow you free NHS treatment. Please pick up the registration forms from the University Health Centre or Advice Zones. When you have completed the registration forms, make an appointment with a Nurse to discuss your medical history and check your weight and height. 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 Health Centre for details.

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

Other ways of accessing health advice

Minor illness

For minor problems like sore throats/coughs/colds and flu like illnesses you will 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

You will be expected to buy your own medicines in this case. Visit your local pharmacy for advice

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 visit the Health Centre to book a GP appointment.


Prescriptions must be taken to a pharmacy. Prescription medication is free if you live in Wales.

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. Accident and Emergency units do not treat minor infections/illnesses and will refer you back to your doctor 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, so they can send a first responder.
    • on our Treforest campus, ring extension 82057 from a university landline or 01443 482057 from a mobile phone
    • on our Glyntaff campus, ring extension 83165 from a university landline, or 01443 483165 from a mobile phone
    • on our Newport campus, contact extension 55555 from a university landline or dial 01633 435020 from a mobile phone
    • on our Cardiff campus, contact extension 68538 from a university landline or ring 01443 668538 from a mobile phone.

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. If you are not registered with a dentist, phone NHS Direct Wales on 0845 46 47.

Optical Treatment

Opticians advertise widely. 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.

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: