Student Guidance to NHS Services

How The NHS Works

To access most NHS services you need to register with a GP (general practitioner). You do this by going into a surgery you would like to join and completing a few forms. You need to be in their catchment area for them to accept you. Most surgeries require photo ID; some require proof of address.

You can only be registered at one GP surgery at a time. If you go somewhere else and complete forms there you will be registered with them. If you go home (in the UK) during half terms and need to be seen by a local surgery you can register as a temporary patient; this means we will still be your GP but they can see you for the duration of your stay in their area.

If you need to see a specialist (for example a dermatologist) you need to see your GP first and they will refer you.

GP services are classed as primary care. This is free to everyone in the UK.

Hospital services are classed as secondary care. There may be a charge for these for oversees patients. The hospital should inform you if there is before starting any treatment.

Emergency care and treatment for infectious diseases are free for everyone.


What can you expect from your  GP Surgery?

  • All patients are seen by appointment 
  • Appointments can be made in person or by telephoning the surgery
  • Appointments are available to book up to one week ahead, but if you require assistance on the same day you should speak to the receptionist who will advise you appropriately 
  • If you are on regular medication please make an appointment to see the doctor to organise your repeat prescription

Practice Nurse

  • On-going contraception needs
  • Monitoring of asthma, eczema or diabetes
  • Monitoring of blood pressure or heart problems
  • Advice on stopping smoking and obesity
  • Travel vaccinations and immunisations
  • Cervical Cytology (smears or swabs)
  • Ear syringing
  • Change of dressings


  • You can get the contraceptive pill from us 
  • You need to see the doctor 1st and then when you need more you can see the nurse
  • We can fit implanons and coils
  • For these you need to see one of our doctors 1st and she will discuss whether it is right for you
  • When booking an appointment to discuss it please ensure you tell us that is why you need an appointment as you would need to see a certain doctor

Meningitis Vaccination

  • There is a new meningitis vaccination available for students – Men ACWY 
  • You can book an appointment with the nurse to have this done
  • Otherwise we will be inviting you, by letter, in to have this 
  • It is important that you have this so please come to this appointment


  • There are 2 ways of getting medications in the UK; being prescribed them and buying over the counter
  • Prescribed medications are given via prescriptions which are given by the doctor or nurse
  • Over the counter medications can be brought from a pharmacy without a prescription
  • Prescriptions currently cost £9 per item 
  • This price usually changes every April
  • There are cost helping schemes available for prescription charges 
  • Over the counter medication costs vary
  • As well as dispensing medication chemists provide a variety of services including stop smoking advice, blood pressure checks, etc
  • They can offer advice on minor ailments
  • Chemists can provide the emergency morning after pill (most are free but some charge. For a list of free chemists please see the surgery leaflet we will give you at the end)
  • Most chemists offer flu vaccines for a fee for those who are not entitled to it on the NHS

Out of Hours

If you need to see a doctor whilst the surgery is closed and you can’t wait until we are open, you should phone 111. An ‘out of hours’ service is provided by the Southampton City CCG

For telephone advice 24 hours a day, every day, phone 111


NHS Walk-In Centres

Offer healthcare advice and treatment from specially trained nurses. Open 365 days a year 

They offer treatment for: 

  • Minor injuries (including fractures to arms, lower legs and feet)
  • Minor illnesses
  • Minor infections
  • Rashes
  • Cuts and bruises 
  • Strains and sprains
  • Stomach upsets,etc

Southampton City Centre Minor Injury Unit/Walk-in Centre
Royal South Hants Hospital
Fanshawe Wing
Brintons Terrace, SO14 0YG
Tel: 023 80 716 539
Open: 7.30am – 10pm


Accident & Emergency

For serious injuries / illnesses you should go to A&E at Southampton General Hospital 

Southampton General Hospital
Tremona Road, SO16 6YD 

The eye casualty is situated next to A&E



  • For dental care, including emergency help, you need to see a dentist. GPs cannot deal with dental problems
  • There are 2 types of dentist, NHS and private. You have to pay for both but NHS dentists are usually cheaper. There is help available for costs
  • There are a number of NHS dental practices in the city
  • To find a NHS one please visit the NHS Choices website and search for ‘services near you’
  • The 111 service can help you find an emergency dentist