Oxfordshire has a large diverse student community drawn from around the globe. It is an important period in your life and you need to make sure you take care of your health and access the support and advice available.
Register With a Local Oxfordshire GP
If you spend more weeks of the year at your college address than your family's address, you need to register with a GP near your college as soon as possible. Do not wait until you are ill and need to see a GP before registering. You can choose to register with any local GP. The health centre attached to your college or university is likely to be the most convenient, and the doctors working there will be experienced in the health needs of students. Use this site to find a local GP.
Getting Ill During the Holidays
If you become unwell or need other medical treatment when you're at home or not staying near your university GP, you can contact your nearest practice to ask for treatment. You can receive emergency treatment for 14 days. After that you will have to register as a temporary resident or permanent patient.
Do not neglect your teeth while a student because you are away from home, make sure you register with a local dentist and continue to have regular check ups. Use this site to find a local dentist.
Overseas Students – The UK Healthcare Model
GPs (Doctor's) Surgery or Health Centres are your first point of contact for medical treatment in the UK and are normally open weekdays during the daytime and early evening. Most illnesses and other problems can be treated by the GP, but if you need to see a specialist, the GP will refer you to an appropriate hospital department. Most GP's Surgeries and Health Centres provide a range of community health services: for example vaccinations, women's health clinics, contraception and sexual health. Your local hospital may also have an NHS Walk-in Clinic.
If your GP refers you to hospital for treatment, you will usually be given an appointment to see a consultant (specialist doctor). Depending on the medical problem, you may be treated as an in-patient (where you are admitted to a ward and stay there overnight or longer) or as an out-patient (where you visit the hospital for an appointment). If you are not a UK resident there can be a charge for hospital treatment. Find out about the healthcare immigration surcharge.
Accident and Emergency (A&E) Departments
Some (but not all) hospitals have Accident and Emergency departments. These departments are open 24 hours a day. If you need urgent treatment, but you are well enough to travel, you should make your own way by bus or taxi to an Accident and Emergency (A&E) department, or ask a friend to take you. There are no fees for Accident and Emergency services (as long as you are not admitted as an in-patient and do not access follow-up treatment), and you do not have to have paid the immigration health surcharge to use them. Note: You should only use A&E Departments for emergency treatment for serious illness or injury.
Mental health problems are as common among students as they are in the general population, however, many students who think they have a mental health condition find their difficulties are caused not by a medical problem, but normal life problems, such as family or relationship issues, or anxiety about their work. Counselling can help students to understand them, and then suggest strategies for dealing with their feelings.
If you feel persistently unhappy or that you can no longer cope, don't keep it a secret. Telling someone how you feel, whether it's a friend, counsellor or doctor, may bring an immediate sense of relief. Many college health centres have good links with specialists such as psychiatrists, psychotherapists and counsellors and most universities have a free and confidential in-house counselling service, with professionally qualified counsellors and psychotherapists, that you can access. Find out about the Oxford University Counselling Service provided by the University of Oxford.
Find out the things you need to ask yourself if you're thinking about having sex. Read more here...
There are a number of sexual health clinics in locations throughout Oxfordshire and all offer basic sexual health screening (tests), treatment, contraception and advice. Find out more here...
It is important that your immunisations are up to date before you arrive at University, and if not that you get them as soon as possible. Fresher' students going to university for the first time are advised to have a vaccination to prevent meningitis W disease. The Men ACWY vaccine is given by a single injection into the upper arm and protects against four different causes of meningitis and septicaemia – meningococcal (Men) A, C, W and Y diseases. There is a checklist of the vaccines you should have during your lifetime, if you're not sure if you have had all your routine vaccinations, ask your GP or practice nurse to find out for you as it may be possible to "catch up". Read more here...
Alcohol is one of the most widely used drug substances in the world and can be a problem with up to 1 in 5 young adults being considered "problem drinkers", impacting on their short term and long term health as well as increasing the risk of accidents. Alcohol slows your breathing rate, heart rate, and how well your brain functions. If you drink alcohol, it is best to do so in moderation. Read more here...
Cigarette smoking is the greatest single cause of illness and premature death in the UK - about 100,000 people in the UK die each year due to smoking. Smoking-related deaths are mainly due to cancers, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and heart disease, and the younger you are when you start smoking, the more likely you are to die early from smoking. Smoking-related deaths are not quick deaths, with several years of illness and distressing symptoms before you die. Don’t start but if you do it is never too late to stop. Read more here...
Substance abuse is the harmful or hazardous use of psychoactive substances and illicit drugs. Psychoactive substance use can lead to behavioural, cognitive, and physiological problems and substance dependency, with difficulty controlling its use despite harmful consequences. The user usually gives a higher priority to drug use than to other activities and obligations. Read more here...
Sexual Violence Support Services
Oxford Sexual Assault and Rape Crisis Centre offers a free and confidential service to women and girls who are dealing with the effects of sexual violence. Read more here...
'Solace' the Sexual Assault Referral Centre provides local communities with a safe, discreet and caring environment to support victims of rape and sexual assault. Find out more here...
Oxford University Welfare Departments
There are a number of services available to provide support to you during your studies at Oxford University. Advice is available from your college, department, central University services, fellow students and the Student Union.