For many, coming to university is a huge step towards independence. While university life is to be enjoyed, it's important you don't get too caught up in all the fun and games and forget to take care of yourself.
It is strongly recommended that you register with a doctor as soon as possible after you arrive in London so that you can access healthcare as quickly as possible if you become ill or injured. Registration with an NHS doctor is done according to postcodes, which means even if you’re registered at your home address, you’ll need to do so again in London.
The Ridgmount Practice, located at 8 Ridgmount Street is a National Health Service (NHS) practice providing healthcare services. More information, including registration forms and the practice welcome letter, can be found on the practice website. The Ridgmount Practice opening times are Monday – Friday from 9.00am to 5.30pm.
If you do not live near UCL check the list of postcodes in the catchment area before queuing to register at the Ridgmount Practice. You can also choose to register with a practice closer to where you are living if you prefer. You can find services closest to you using the National Health Service website.
To register, you need to visit the surgery. You will need to complete a form and will need to provide certain documents. The actual documents you need to provide will vary from surgery to surgery so it might be best to call to check. You should expect to provide some ID (like your passport), your visa (if an international student) and proof of your student status and address.
If you are an international student you may wish to refer to the International Student Support website for further information about the health care provision available to you in the UK, especially if you are staying for a short period of time.
Remember, if someone’s life is at risk or they need urgent medical care call 999. You can also contact NHS advisors for non-emergency cases on 111.
Dental treatment is not free, and not all dentists will accept NHS patients. To find a dentist that is taking new NHS patients, you can visit the NHS 24 website where you’ll need to contact and register with your chosen dentist. Often, you’ll be asked to attend a ‘new patient’ appointment where you will be given a check-up and any treatment you need will be discussed. Registering for treatment on the NHS is normally significantly cheaper than getting treatment privately – as an example, a basic check-up and scale and polish is normally around £10 - £15 on the NHS, but can be up to £50+ when done privately. But be aware, it can take significantly longer to get an appointment on the NHS.
The Dental Centre at UCL, situated on the 5th floor, 3 Gower Place has been established for more than 50 years. They provide a wide range of dental care to UCL students, staff and members of the public including NHS, Private and Denplan treatment.
Studying is likely to bring a number of changes to your life. Hopefully it will be enjoyable and interesting, but it can also be challenging – especially if you are experiencing a mental ill health. Some changes or new experiences that many people experience are:
- meeting and working with new people from a variety of cultural, religious and socio-economic backgrounds.
- new demands such as deadlines for written work or presentations
- exams or assessments
- balancing the demands of studying with work or caring commitments
- maintaining relationships with family and old friends
- leaving home or moving house.
If you have past experience with or new concern over mental ill health, it's a good idea to familiarise yourself with the support services on offer at the university and the wider community. The UCL Student Psychological Service is dedicated to helping UCL students with personal, emotional and psychological concerns.
If you are sexually active it is crucial that you look after your sexual health. This includes preventing sexually transmitted infections (STIs), avoiding unwanted pregnancies and keeping yourself safe and mentally well.
If you would like to talk to someone about a sexual health issue, you can call the national sexual health helpline free on 0300 123 7123. Your call will be treated with sensitivity and in strict confidence.
It’s a good idea to speak to your doctor about contraceptive options, and you can get free condoms from local clinics and pharmacies - one of the closest to Bloomsbury Campus is Brook Euston, 92 - 94 Chalton Street. You can be tested for all Sexually Transmitted Infections at Mortimer Market Centre. Mortimer Market Centre offers all the advice and services you need to be sexually active and healthy whilst at University.
The emergency morning after pill is available from most pharmacies for roughly £30, and available free from Boots, 16-17 Tottenham Court Road.
Eye health is just as important as any other. Whether you’re long term-bespectacled or just in need of a check up, a dedicated student optician service University Vision is located in the Student Central (previously ULU) building on Malet Street. They offer 30 minute consultations and walk-in slots - perfect for students who want to fit in eye examinations between work and lectures. They also offer a 10% student discount. A large selection of high street opticians can be found on nearby Tottenham Court Road or Oxford Street.
And remember to take care of your eyes. Digital Eye Strain is common among those who spend more than 2 hours per day using a digital device, but there are methods to help reduce its effects.