If you need advice about your health there are two main sources of information: your College Nurse or a local General Practitioner (GP).
Health care in Cambridge is available from the National Health Service (NHS) through GP practices which together form Cambridgeshire Primary Care Trust (PCT). GPs provide primary care and can arrange for secondary care at Addenbrooke's Hospital. You should register with a GP as soon as possible after arriving in Cambridge, even if you do not expect to need medical treatment during your time here. Your College can give you information about local GP practices, or you can search for surgeries in your area at the NHS homepage. However, GPs are free to decide which patients they accept onto their list, so you may not be able to register at the practice closest to your College.
Students from countries that have a healthcare agreement with the UK (including most of the European Economic Area) are eligible to receive most medical care free of charge. Students from other countries may qualify for free treatment depending on their circumstances. The entitlement to free medical treatment under the NHS is based on residence in the UK - not nationality - the payment of UK taxes or National Insurance contributions. Any person who is regarded as ordinarily resident in the UK is eligible for free treatment by a GP. This includes overseas students enrolled on courses of study lasting more than 6 months, together with their spouses and children aged under 16. Students enrolled on courses lasting less than 6 months are advised to take out a private health insurance policy. Information about the cost of various forms of treatment can be obtained from the Paying Patients Office at Addenbrooke's Hospital. All overseas students should consider taking out insurance against unexpected travel and medical expenses.
Any person — ordinarily resident or not — who requires treatment that a GP regards as emergency or immediately necessary will receive that treatment free of charge, whether registered with a GP or not. This covers treatment in the Accident and Emergency department of a hospital, but not subsequent admission as an in-patient or referral to an out-patient clinic.
Students coming to Cambridge from other parts of the UK should bear in mind that not all Primary Care Trusts provide the same range of treatment. If you need treatment for a pre-existing condition, you should ask your home GP to liaise with the GP with whom you register in Cambridge.
Help with the cost of medical treatment (e.g. prescription charges) is available in certain circumstances, including for pregnant women and for 12 months after the birth of your baby. Download the NHS leaflet Help with Health Costs (PDF document).
To search for GP surgeries and in your area and contact details, see the NHS homepage.
For any medical or dental advice with minor ailments, you can call the nurse-operated NHS Direct. Alternatively, when your GP surgery is closed, you can contact Urgent Care Cambridgeshire for urgent medical advice out of surgery hours.
Some doctors and dentists operate in the private sector or take a certain number of private patients as well as their NHS ones. These patients pay fees (often substantial) for medical treatment. If you want faster service or to have elective surgery with less waiting time, you may choose to see a doctor as a private patient.
Addenbrooke's Hospital on Hills Road is the main NHS hospital in Cambridge. Addenbrooke's is the only hospital in the area with an Accident and Emergency department so in an emergency go straight there. In an emergency, call 999 for an ambulance.
There are a number of other NHS Trust hospitals in the area, including Hinchingbrooke Hospital in Huntingdonshire and Papworth Hospital. There are also private hospitals, including the Spire Cambridge Lea Hospital.
Pregnancy and Maternity Care
Details of services and care for pregnant women are available from your GP, who will put you in contact with a local midwife for information on antenatal classes, health visitors, home/alternative births and to answer any questions you may have. You can also contact the Rosie Maternity Hospital. Free pregnancy testing kits are available through CUSU. See the Beeline sexual health information service.
The NHS has an online maternity guide offering information on pregnancy and birth. The Your Pregnancy and Baby Guide gives advice on all aspects of pregnancy, from getting pregnant, early pregnancy, the scans, and the birth as well as comparative guides on what is on offer at local maternity units.
Healthy Start is a Government scheme that provides free milk, fresh fruit and vegetables, infant formula and vitamins to eligible pregnant women and children.
It is a good idea to register with a local dentist as soon as you arrive in Cambridge as you will get a faster service if an emergency occurs. Ideally, you register with your local practice as an NHS patient and pay standard NHS rates. This means that although appointments are not free, they will be subsidised by the NHS. However, it is getting more difficult to find dentists who will accept new NHS patients and there is a possibility you will have to register as a private patient and pay full rates. Dentists can choose how much or how little NHS work they do and most do a mixture of NHS and private work.
All Children under 18 (and 18 year olds in full time education) and pregnant women are eligible for free dental care.
As a current undergraduate or postgraduate student, you can use the University Dental Service as an NHS patient. The service also provides NHS care to students' dependents who are under the age of 18 or who are 18 and in full-time education. However other relations of students including partners are treated on a private basis.
For names of other local dentists currently accepting new NHS patients and other information related to dental care try the NHS homepage.