International Student Support


National Health Service (NHS)
University Health Centre (UHC)
Dental and optical treatment
Mental Health and the Counselling Service

National Health Service (NHS)


Most medical treatment in the UK is provided through the National Health Service (NHS).  Some services are free and there are charges for others.

If you are studying a full-time course which lasts at least six months you will be entitled to treatment through the NHS.  If your spouse and children are in the UK as your dependants they will also be entitled to free healthcare.

If you course lasts less than six months, you will not be entitled to treatment except by a hospital in an emergency, unless you come from a country which has a reciprocal healthcare agreement with the UK.  Further information is available from the UKCISA website for international students.

You should note that in some cases reciprocal healthcare agreements exclude treatment for conditions which existed prior to your arrival in the UK.

Medical treatment through the NHS

All students should register with a General Practitioner (GP) when they arrive in Belfast.  You can register through the University Health Centre (see below).  If you are ill you should go to your GP for treatment unless there is an emergency.  There is no charge for appointments with your GP or for any hospital treatment you may require.  You will, however, have to pay a prescription charge towards the cost of any medication which your GP may prescribe.

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University Health Centre

The University Health Centre at Queen's is a General Practice that provides both student-focused and general National Health services.  The UHC also provides University-funded, non-NHS services for students of Queen's.  For more information please see the UHC website.

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Dental and Optical Treatment

Dental Care

There is a charge for all dental treatment but it is less expensive to be treated through the NHS than as a private patient.  Dentists will take a limited number of patients and so you will find that many of them will be unable to take you, or will offer to put you on a waiting list.  As such, it may not be possible to find a dentist who can treat you through the NHS. 

Optical Care

There is a minimum charge for an eye test and you will have to pay the cost of any spectacles or contact lenses you might need.  There is a number of opticians in Belfast and charges will vary between them, so you should shop around to see which one suits you best.

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Mental Health and the Counselling Service

Your mental health is just as important as your physical health and can be affected by many things, such as Culture Shock.  It is important that you look after your mental health and Queen's Counselling Service is an excellent resource. 

The Counselling Service is based in the Student Guidance Centre.  The service is confidential and is about us being aware of your needs and you feeling comforable to talk freely to our trained advisors whenever you need them most.

The Counselling Service will take care of you and make sure you get the support you need, particularly during tough and challenging times.  The counsellors are friendly and approachable; experienced and qualified and there is no problem too big or too small.

The Counselling Service offer a full service to all types of student: helping international students adapt to their new environment; assisting students with disabilities; offering advice to postgraduates as they enter a new and important phase of study; and helping mature students meet the challenges of later life study. 

For more information about looking after your mental health, please see the NHS Mind Your Head campaign.

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