Health and wellbeing

Find out details on the National Health Service, what to do and where to go if you are feeling unwell. Also included here are links to health facilities and general public health information.

National Health Service (NHS)

There are slight differences in the services provided in England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland - these notes refer to services in England.

Services provided by the NHS include general practitioners (GPs), dentists, specialists (also known as consultants), opticians, pharmacies, ambulances and hospitals. Hospitals, ambulances and medical consultations are free of charge, while there are fixed, subsidised costs for prescriptions, sight tests, NHS glasses (eyeglasses/spectacles) and NHS dental treatment. If you know that you will need regular medication, it can be more cost effective to buy a Prescription Prepayment Certificate (PPC).

Feeling unwell?

We tend to consider illness in 4 stages.

Stage 1: minor ailments
For minor injuries and ailments, you can buy over-the-counter medicines at your local supermarket or pharmacy. If you need advice, your local pharmacy will be able to help.

Stage 2: illness, not urgent
In these circumstances, you would contact your local surgery or health centre and ask for an appointment to see a GP. You cannot get an appointment with a specialist unless you have a referral from your GP; therefore it is important to register with a GP practice as soon as you can. You can find a local practice on Find a GP

Stage 3: urgent illness but not life-threatening
If you are unable to get an appointment with your doctor soon enough, and you feel you need advice immediately, call 111 free of charge. The phone service and website are open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. You can also visit a walk-in urgent care centre if there is one at your local hospital.

Stage 4: life-threatening emergency
If there is a serious medical emergency and you need an ambulance to take you or someone else to the local A&E (Accident and Emergency) department, you should ring 999. This is also the emergency number for the police and the fire service.


Smoking is banned in all enclosed public spaces in England including bars, pubs and restaurants, public transport, in some public spaces such as train stations, and the vast majority of hotel rooms. Unless you are in your own home or your own vehicle, or in the middle of a wide open space, your safest option is to assume that smoking is illegal.


The University has excellent sports facilities and offers a variety of clubs and classes. If you would like find facilities nearer home, your local authority website will have a list of subsidised leisure centres.

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