Registering with a local GP (General Practitioner - doctor) practice will make sure you are able to access healthcare when you need to. A GP can provide support for your mental and physical health, and they are usually the first health service you should contact when you are experiencing a problem.
You should register with a GP near to where you spend most of your time, which is likely to be your term-time address. Don't wait until you feel unwell, register with a doctor as soon as possible.
Find a doctor
You can find a GP using the NHS's Find a GP services search. Enter your term time postcode to find local practices. There are several to choose from near to the University and the main student areas.
Some GPs only take patients living within a certain area, or can be full, so you may need to try more than one practice.
How to register
You will need to complete a registration form, which you can print at home or collect from the GP practice you'd like to register with. There will usually be a receptionist who will explain what you need to do. The form will ask you for your personal details (such as your name, date of birth and address). This is so that the practice can register you as a patient, and so that they can retrieve your medical information. If you are from the UK, it is helpful if you are able to provide your NHS number.
International students will need to show their offer letter or enrolment letter to prove they are a student or obtain a proof of enrolment letter from the Aston Webb Student Hub.
You will usually be asked about any existing medical conditions you have and your past medical history, for example whether you have asthma or have previously had a serious illness. If you do have existing medical conditions, it may be helpful to bring along details of your diagnosis and treatment. Where possible, international students should try to bring a letter from their doctor explaining any medical conditions or illnesses.
Some GP practices will allow you to pre-register online, although it is likely you will still need to visit in person to complete your registration.
Making an appointment
Each GP practice will have its own system for making appointments. You may be able to book by phone, online or in person. There will usually be a mix of appointments you can book in advance, and appointments which can only be booked on the day. Appointments are usually available during weekdays, although your GP practice may offer evening and weekend appointments too.
Make sure you know how to book an appointment with your GP. You can ask the receptionist, phone the practice or they may have details on their website.
You can request a specific doctor or nurse at the practice. You can also request to see a male or female doctor or nurse if you prefer.
You might find it useful to make notes of what you want to discuss with the GP or questions you want to ask them. If you want to, you can ask a friend or relative to accompany you.
Other healthcare services
GP practices are not the only health service available. There are a range of 'primary care' options available depending on what you need, including GP practices, dentists, walk-in centres, sexual health clinics and pharmacies.
Visit NHS services explained to find out more about the different services. If you are unsure which service you need, you can contact NHS 111 for advice. Call 111 from your phone; the call is free.