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International Students Health & Wellbeing


Making sure that you are healthy in body and mind is the most important part of ensuring that your time in the UK is all you want it to be.

The following information is given as a starting point but don’t forget that the International Student Advice Centre is here to help with any issues that you may want to discuss further.

Plus Icon Registering with a doctor

You should register with a doctor's surgery shortly after arriving in Leeds, (doctors in the community are called General Practitioners or GP’s). You can find a GP using the NHS Service Finder.

You may also be eligible for help with the costs of prescriptions. Visit www.gov.uk to find out if you qualify. If you become ill or are injured please make sure you get the best possible treatment in the right place. For urgent advice and treatment anytime, call 111.

Information about the nearest NHS service wherever you are in West Yorkshire and the Humber.

Check your symptoms on the NHS Choices symptom checker.

It is important to find a surgery close to your accommodation in case you require a home visit. Do not delay registration with a surgery until you are ill, make this a priority.

Plus Icon Am I entitled to NHS healthcare?

You may use the facilities of the National Health Service free of charge if:

  • You are coming to the UK to study for more than six months and you have a valid student visa, or
  • You are a national of, or a refugee in, a European Economic Area country and you currently reside there, or
  • Your country has a reciprocal health agreement with the United Kingdom (you can check with the UKCISA website ww.ukcisa.org.uk for further information).

If you do not fall into one of these categories - if, for example, you are a non-EU national, or on a course for less than six months - you must consider getting private health insurance before travelling to the UK. This is very important as private treatment without insurance can be extremely expensive! More information about private health insurance can be found onwww.endsleigh.co.uk.

As well as health cover, before you leave home, you should consider taking out insurance to cover your possessions and personal liability. If you have difficulty in arranging this before your departure, it is possible to arrange insurance through various schemes in the UK.

Plus Icon Health Care for your family

If your family are in the UK as your Dependants then they will receive NHS health care on the same basis as yourself.

Plus Icon What does the NHS provide?

If you qualify for NHS treatment, you will be entitled to the same benefits as British citizens. This includes free medical consultations with your doctor and free hospital treatment if required. For prescribed medicines and treatment by a dentist or optician - including eye tests - charges are payable. From 01st April 2013, the single item prescription charge will cost £7.85.

As a student, you may be eligible for full or partial exemption of NHS charges. To apply for exemption, you should fill in anHC1 form, available from NHS hospitals, Walk-In centres and your doctor. More information.

If you come to the UK suffering from a long-term illness or disability which requires hospital treatment, you may be asked to pay for the hospital treatment for your long-term illness or disability. You should bring any relevant information or records with you from home, especially details of any medicines you are taking regularly. Specialist treatment, if required, will be arranged by your GP.

Plus Icon European Health Insurance Card

Your EHIC lets you get state healthcare at a reduced cost or sometimes for free. It will cover you for treatment that is needed to allow you to continue your stay until your planned return. It also covers you for treatment of pre-existing medical conditions and for routine maternity care, as long as you're not going abroad to give birth. Please choose one of the options below that best fits your need.

A smart phone application is available for iOS, Android and Windows mobile, which includes information in 24 languages on how to use the European Health Insurance Card in all the participating countries. It includes general information about the card, emergency phone numbers, covered treatments and costs, how to claim reimbursement and who to contact in case you have lost your card. It does not replace the card, which is still needed.

iOS App

Plus Icon NHS Dentists

NHS dentists in Leeds have very long waiting lists, often several months at least, so it is best that you remain with your dentist in your home country.

If you would like to register on a waiting list for an NHS dentist, or if you need emergency dental treatment, call the Leeds Dental Advice Line on 0800 298 5787. It is open between 9am and 5pm Monday to Friday.

Plus Icon What to do if you become ill

If you are suffering from a cough, cold or sore throat you can buy medicine from a chemist (pharmacy) without a doctor's prescription to treat these symptoms. You may be able to purchase "alternative" medicines from Health Food Stores and Herbalist shops.

If your illness appears to be more serious, you should see a doctor as soon as possible and describe your symptoms clearly. Many surgeries have female as well as male doctors. If you would prefer to see a female doctor, please tell the receptionist, but you may have to wait longer for an appointment.

Keep your doctor's telephone number handy, in case you need to call for help during the night. This should only be done in an emergency. At night and at weekends you will be seen by the Deputising Service and not your regular GP. Accident and Emergency (A&E) departments are situated at the Leeds General Infirmary (LGI) on Calverley Street (opposite Leeds Beckett's Civic Quarter) and St James's Hospital on Beckett Street. The departments are open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. If you have a serious injury or illness you will be seen by a doctor on duty and advised about treatment. If you go to A&E with a condition which is not serious, you may have to wait a couple of hours to be seen.

Plus Icon NHS Direct

NHS Direct is a 24 hour nurse-led, confidential helpline providing advice and information on:

  • What to do if you're feeling ill
  • Health concerns for you or your family
  • Local health services
  • Self-help and support organisations

NHS Direct is available in England 24 hours a day all year round. If your preferred language is not English, you can ask for a confidential translation service. Telephone 0845 4647 (from anywhere in England) or to find out more you can visit their website: NHS Choices.

Plus Icon Ambulance Service

If you are seriously ill or injured and require urgent hospital treatment you can call Emergency Services on 999 and request an ambulance to take you to hospital. The call is free and can be made from mobile phones even if you have run out of credit. You should only request an ambulance if you have had an accident, or are seriously ill and cannot contact your doctor.

Plus Icon Disability

If you have a disability please contact the University as early as possible so that support that may be required and your needs can be discussed. More details.

Plus Icon Diet

A healthy diet will help you to feel good both physically and mentally. Adjusting to being away from home can be difficult. Different routines and mealtimes can affect when and where you eat. Try to have regular meals and not to snack too much in between! You should also try and eat the recommended five portions of fruit or vegetables a day.

Plus Icon Exercise

It is also essential that you take some form of regular exercise. Exercise keeps the body healthy and also helps relieves feelings of tension and anxiety. Everyone has a different level of fitness so choose something at the right level that you will enjoy, as you are likely to stick at it for longer. There are a vast range of sports facilities available at Leeds Beckett along with many sports clubs and organised activities. Contact the Student Union for further information about clubs you can join.

  • For further information about keeping yourself fit and well, download the UKCISA guideline ‘Keeping Healthy’ from www.ukcisa.org.uk
Plus Icon Personal Safety

Over 50,000 students enjoy studying in Leeds each year. In all large cities you should be aware of your personal safety and should not take risks.

Follow simple safety rules:

  • Do not walk alone late at night
  • Do not accept lifts from people you do not know well
  • Do not carry a lot of money or wear expensive looking jewellery
  • Do not leave expensive music or computer equipment on display- showing off will make you a target
  • Do not take short cuts through parks or playing fields - keep to well-lit streets
  • Keep doors and windows locked, especially at night and always when you leave your room, even for a short moment in a University residence
  • Let other students know where you are going and when you expect to return
  • Always lock your car and put valuables out of sight - never leave the keys in the ignition even when paying for petrol
  • To prevent spiking, don't leave drinks unattended
  • Be vigilant when using your mobile phone - if your phone is stolen, call your network or 08701123123 to immobilise it
  • Protect yourself with insurance - keep lists of the make, model and serial numbers of your electronic items to help police track them down if they are stolen
  • Mark your postcode on to your laptop and other valuables with an invisible pen – sometimes belongings are recovered by the police and the postcode will help to identify the rightful owner
  • Use cash-machines during the day - put your card and cash away and be vigilant - never write down your PIN
  • Be wary of any unexpected emails from Banks or Building Societies that ask you for your account details
  • Keep cards and chequebooks separately - note down your card details so you can cancel them quickly

The Leeds Beckett Students' Union (LBUSU) has implemented a number of initiatives to make you feel safe and secure while studying with us. These include:

Knowledge Leeds brings together the police, universities, unions and council in Leeds; providing students with practical advice on safety and crime prevention. Its aim is to debunk myths surrounding student crime in Leeds, by empowering students to proactively tackle crime in their area. Knowledge has been very successful in reducing crime in the city.

Safe transport schemes: The Amber Cars Student ID scheme gets you home after dark even when you’re out of cash. Call them on 0113 2311366 and tell them you want to pay with your student card and collect your card from the student hub the next day.

The British Council have a useful Personal Safety guide which you can download from The British Council

You can also go to the West Yorkshire Police Youtube channel at www.youtube.com/999tv which features crime prevention advice from the Force Crime Reduction Officer, and also advice from the Crimestopper Regional Co-ordinator about contacting Crimestoppers anonymously to report crimes. There is also a West Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Youtube channel at http://www.youtube.com/user/WestYorkshireFRS , which has videos featuring fire safety advice.

Plus Icon Police

Most Police Officers wear a uniform; the uniforms may sometimes seem slightly different to each other, some with bright yellow reflective jackets, some without.

All Police officers must carry a warrant card. This card shows their identification and tells you that they are a Police Officer. Officers must show this card if they are asked to. Police in Leeds do not normally carry guns. If you are arrested then you will be taken to a police station. You have the right to inform someone that you have been arrested. You should contact the University immediately if you are detained by the police. Telephone 0113 812 5612, Monday- Friday 9am-5pm. Outside these hours telephone 0113 812 3176.

Plus Icon Public Emergency Contact: 999

If there is an emergency and you need the Police, Fire Brigade or an ambulance, telephone 999. Calls are free of charge and can be made from any public telephone, including card phones and mobile phones, even if your credit has run out.

Information given here is intended as a guide for international students and is given in good faith. Care has been taken in compiling the information, however, the University accepts no legal responsibility for its accuracy.

OISC Logo

Designated officer authorised to provide immigration advice and services by an order made under section 84 (4) (d) of the Immigration and Asylum Act 1999 and regulated by the Immigration Services Commissioner.

Karen Griffith
International Student Adviser                     

Our advice is available free of charge and follows the Rules and Code of Standards of the Office of the Immigration Services Commissioner (OISC) and UK Visas and Immigration.

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