The National Health Service (NHS) is the UK’s state healthcare system providing a wide range of health care services including appointments with a doctor, hospital treatment and dental care. You should register with a doctor as soon as possible after your arrival in London. The Art Academy would advise that you find a GP near where you are living. You will need your passport and a letter from the Art Academy to prove you are a student.
EEA and Swiss nationals
The UK’s Department of Health has produced a leaflet on Healthcare Information for students from the European Economic Area who may wish to use the National Health Service (NHS).
Non-UK European Economic Area (EEA) and Swiss nationals and their families, should obtain a European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) before coming to the UK to ensure access to NHS services is free.
If you are exercising your right to reside in the UK as a student, in accordance with UK EEA regulations you are required to hold comprehensive sickness insurance throughout your period of residence in the UK. Having a valid EHIC issued by an EEA member state other than the UK satisfies this requirement if you are residing in the UK on a temporary basis as a student. Alternatively you can obtain Forms S1, S2 or S3 from the social security institution in your EEA country of residence outside the UK. You would need to contact the social security institution directly to ascertain whether one of these forms would be relevant to your circumstances. If you are not entitled to an EHIC or cannot be issued one of these forms, you are advised to obtain private comprehensive medical insurance. Further information on the requirement for comprehensive sickness insurance is provided by the UK Council for International Student Affairs.
Short study periods
If your course is less than six months or you are required to make a number of occasional visits to the UK for short study periods and you are from a non-EEA country, you are advised to take out medical insurance as you will be liable for NHS charges for the treatment you receive in the UK except for in a medical emergency and this is limited. Some countries have a reciprocal agreement with the UK which may entitle you to free healthcare on the NHS but you should seek advice from the health authorities in your home country about what treatment will be covered. EEA nationals should obtain a European Health Insurance Card (EHIC).
Private Medical Insurance
You cannot take out private healthcare insurance as an alternative to paying the health immigration surcharge as this is a mandatory fee included as part of your visa application. It is a personal decision whether you also take out private healthcare insurance. You may wish to consider this to cover the following potential health-related costs:
- Loss of fees if you are unable to complete your course
- Costs incurred returning to your home country for treatment
- Private medical treatment
If you already have medical insurance in your home country, you may wish to check whether this can be extended to cover your stay in the UK.