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The UK offers access to the National Health Service, a publicly funded healthcare system, for UK citizens and legal immigrants.

If you are a visa national, you may need to pay a healthcare surcharge (called the ‘immigration health surcharge’ or IHS) as part of your immigration application.

On arrival to Northern Ireland you should register with a local health centre where you will be assigned to a doctor. Local doctors, also known as general practitioners (GPs), look after the health of people in their local community and provide a wide range of services including advice on health problems, physical examinations, diagnosis of symptoms, the prescribing of medication and other treatments.

National Health Service (NHS) hospitals provide free healthcare. If you are involved in an accident or suddenly take ill, you may need to go to Accident and Emergency (A&E). The number to call for an ambulance is 999. The ambulance will take you to the A&E at the nearest hospital.

Hospitals - The nearest hospitals to the University are:

  • Belfast City Hospital NHS Trust 51, Lisburn Road Belfast BT9 7AB Telephone: 02890 329 241 
  • Royal Victoria Hospital, Grosvenor Road Belfast, BT12 6BA Telephone: 028 9024 0503

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.