All students and dependants living on campus should register with the University Health Centre as soon as possible after completing your University registration. The easiest way to do this is online
It is also possible to register in person at the Health Centre, which is located next to Lancaster House on campus.
Please note that in order to register with the Health Centre, you need to meet the conditions of eligibility. As general practitioner (GP) surgeries/health centres in the UK operate on a geographical basis, students need to register with a GP surgery in their area. If you live off campus in the surrounding area, you may still be able to register with the University Health Centre if you wish, or you can register with another surgery. To identify practices in your area, contact NHS Direct on T 0845 4647 or look at their website www.nhs.uk and enter your postcode. Once you have found a practice, phone to ask if they are accepting new patients. If you have difficulty finding a practice that will accept you, contact NHS Direct on the above number.
Early arrival in the UK
Students who intend to arrive in the UK before the start of their course should have short-term medical insurance for the period between their arrival in the UK and the start of their course.
The National Health Service
The National Health Service (NHS) is the UK's state health service, which provides treatment for UK residents through a wide range of health care services. Some services are free, and some you will have to pay for.
Who is entitled to NHS treatment?
The following NHS treatment is free for everyone:
To qualify for any other NHS treatment, you must meet the following conditions.
If your course of study is for six months or more you will qualify for NHS treatment from the beginning of your stay on the same basis as anyone who is ordinarily resident in the UK. Your spouse or children (up to the age of 16 or up to the age of 19 if they are in full-time education) with you in the UK will also be entitled to NHS treatment.
If your course of study is for less than six months and you are studying on a course that is substantially funded by the UK Government, you will receive full NHS hospital treatment from the beginning of your stay, even if your course is under six months long. 'Substantially' means at least 35 per cent Government funded. You will need to provide evidence of the funding in order to qualify for free treatment. However, you might not be eligible for free GP treatment.
If you are in one of the eligible categories described above, you can register as a patient with a local doctor (also referred to as General Practitioner or GP). GPs are doctors who are trained and experienced in diagnosing a wide range of health problems. The doctor/GP will be based in a local office (called a surgery) or in a health centre
You are also entitled to free treatment in NHS hospitals.
Reciprocal health care agreements
The UK has reciprocal health care agreements for the following:
Please note that this list is subject to change.
If you are covered by a reciprocal health care agreement, you will be eligible for some NHS treatment even if your course lasts less than six months. Reciprocal health care agreements generally cover hospital treatment if the condition started during your stay. They do not, however, always cover treatment of an existing condition. Before you travel, you should seek advice from the health authorities in your home country about what treatment will be covered. You may still need to take out limited medical insurance. If you are a Swiss national or a national of one of the member states of the European Union who has come to study in the UK from Switzerland, you will have the same healthcare eligibility as European Economic Area (EEA) nationals .
However, this does not apply to you if you are a national of Norway, Iceland or Liechtenstein and you have been resident in Switzerland before coming to the UK.
European Economic Area (EEA) Nationals
All non-UK European Economic Area (EEA) nationals and their family should obtain a European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) before coming to the UK. This card entitles the holder and their family to full NHS treatment on the same basis as the student categories described above. For more information on the EHIC, see the Department of Health website or contact your government's health department. Please note that the University Health Centre recommends that you also take out comprehensive health insurance as you may want a quicker service than the NHS can deliver.
If you are not in one of the eligible categories described above, and your course is under six months long, you and your family are only entitled to limited free NHS treatment. You will have free emergency hospital treatment, but only the treatment given in a NHS Accident and Emergency department is free of charge. Once you are admitted on to a ward or given an outpatient appointment, charges will apply. GPs may agree to treat you for free, but this will usually be limited to urgent treatment that cannot be delayed until you return home. You will have to pay for any other treatment as a private patient.
It is therefore very important that you take out medical insurance for the duration of your visit to the UK. Please note that private medical treatment is very expensive if you do not have private medical insurance.
Health Centre at Sussex
The Health Centre is located on campus next to Lancaster House. General medical care is provided by four doctors and their staff. Many services, including contraception, are provided at the Health Centre. When appropriate, an individual will be referred on to other agencies. To make an appointment to see a doctor or nurse, call T 01273 249049 or go to the Health Centre reception desk. Further information about the University Health Centre, including details of opening times, is available online
There is a dental surgery located in the Health Centre Building. Surgery hours are 9.30am-5pm Monday to Thursday and 9.30am-4pm on Friday. Appointments can be made by telephoning 01273 605555. You should note that dental treatment under the National Health Service is subsidised but not free.
There is a pharmacist on campus located next to the Health Centre who will dispense medicines on prescription. The pharmacist can also provide emergency contraception and advice on the treatment of symptoms of minor illnesses such as coughs, colds, hayfever, etc.
Although treatment under the NHS is normally free, some emergency services may incur charges and there is a standard charge for prescribed medications - currently £7.10 per item, which is payable to the pharmacist dispensing the drugs. Charges are also made for dental and optical treatments.
Meningococcal disease or meningitis is a relatively rare disease and the levels of infection at the University of Sussex have been no different to the average levels at other UK universities. However, isolated cases have occurred and it is important for you to be aware of the symptoms of meningitis.
The symptoms for the disease are not at first easy to spot as they are very similar to those of the flu. Some of the symptoms include:
An effective vaccine is now available to protect against meningitis C strain. You should try to arrange immunisation with this vaccine before arriving in the UK as protection takes about two weeks to develop. If this is not possible, you can be immunised at the Health Centre free of charge. However, there is no vaccine protection against B strains of the disease, so please remain vigilant. If you think that someone might have meningitis, contact your doctor immediately. If the doctor is unavailable, then go straight to the nearest Accident and Emergency room at the local hospital.
There have also been recent outbreaks of mumps on university campuses in the UK. You are therefore advised to check your immunisation status before travelling.
UKCISA produce a useful guide to medical services in the UK, as well as helpful information about diet, weather, and personal health issues.
UNISEX is a sexual health and drug awareness project for the University. It promotes safer sex and safer drug and alcohol use, and can provide confidential advice and support to any student with concerns about themselves or someone else.
Brighton is a lively city with a large population of young people. It is an exciting place to live and many students choose to study here for that reason. As with any city there is a diversity of lifestyles and you may find yourself in situations that are new and unfamiliar. Generally speaking, the UK has a culture of sexual freedom and Brighton itself has a large gay community. There are many different illegal drugs that are used recreationally in the UK, and these are often associated with cities and with young people. However, this does not mean that all young people in Brighton are taking drugs. If you wish to discuss any of these issues or are finding it difficult to settle because of them, then visit UNISEX for a confidential chat. UNISEX can provide information about HIV, sexually-transmitted infections, contraception, drugs/alcohol and local services. Most of this can be found on their website but you can also visit the drop-in centre and speak to someone in person. The drop-in centre is open Monday-Friday (except Wednesdays) 10am-2pm. You can call the drop-in centre on T +44 (0)1273 877969 or 678641, email them at email@example.com or send a text to +44 (0)7510 599241.Families at Sussex
There are many issues that students need to consider before bringing their families (spouse and children) to live with them during their studies, including accommodation, immigration and finance. If you do decide to bring your family, you should ensure you make preparations well in advance. See below for more information on childcare and finance.
Crèche and nursery facilities
There is a crèche taking children from four months to three years of age and a nursery taking children from two years nine months to five years. The crèche is on the ground floor of Norwich House and the nursery is on the ground floor of the Education Development Building (EDB).
Please contact the Childcare Manager, Penny Peters, for further details. It is advised that you apply for a waiting-list form at an early stage but places cannot be guaranteed. (Fees are currently about £18 per half-day session). Places are allocated on a sessional/ termly basis the term before admission. For more information, see their website.
There is a baby sitting board in the Students' Union Advice Centre, where parents can advertise for a childminder and childminders can advertise their services. Please note that it is your responsibility to get references and/ or Criminal Records Bureau checks regarding the childminders as the Students' Union does not check their suitability to work with children.
For further information about the Union's childcare facilities, please contact the Advice & Representation Centre.
In addition to the services provided by the Students' Union and University there are a wide range of other childcare services in the local area (eg registered childminders, nurseries, playgroups and after school clubs).
The ChildcareLink service is a government initiative that comprises the ChildcareLink web site at www.childcarelink.gov.uk, a national freephone information line on 0800 2346346 and a network of Children's Information Services (CIS). The CIS provide face-to face or phone advice on all aspects of childcare.
The website helps you find useful information about the different types of childcare and early education in your local area, and also contains details of your local CIS, which can provide additional help and advice with all aspects of childcare and early years.
Brighton & Hove CIS provides free information and advice on:
They run a drop-in service at Brighton Town Hall which is open Monday to Friday 9am to 5pm and their helpline is +44 (0)1273 293545.
This is a Government-run website that has information and guidance for parents on everything from maternity leave to immunisation. Go to www.direct.gov.uk/ parents
As an international student you may be able to claim help towards your childcare costs through the University's Alumni Hardship Fund, depending upon your financial circumstances, although please note that funding is very limited and would only cover a small portion of the total cost.
The East Slope family room is available for parents who would like to either meet regularly or have one off parties or events. The East Slope family room is bookable through Vicky Bowles, East Slope Buildings 40 Manager T +44 (0)1273 678236.
Schools in the local area
Children aged 5-16 are required by law to go to school and are entitled to free schooling. There is a wide selection of state schools in the Brighton & Hove area - you can get a list and application form by contacting:Brighton & Hove City Council
Information about schooling in Brighton & Hove is also available online (follow 'quick links' to schools)
When you have chosen your school you should send the application form to the above address. If the school you applied for is already full, you will be offered an alternative.
The cost of living in the UK is high and it can be expensive to support yourself and your family. If you intend to bring your spouse and/or children with you, you will need to prove to the immigration authorities that you have sufficient money to accommodate and maintain them without recourse to public funds. Please be aware that private-sector housing can be more expensive, so you need to be realistic about costs and other issues before deciding whether your family should accompany you.
Support for partners
As a student, you are likely to spend a lot of your time at the University, and if you have children, they will be able to make friends at school or nursery. However, your partner may sometimes feel lonely or isolated if they find it difficult to meet people, especially if he/ she has limited English language skills. Your partner may therefore be interested in the following:
International Partners Group
The International Partners Group meets each Monday morning in the Park Village Families Room from 10am-12 noon. This is an informal group to help with English conversation and forming friendships. It is a great place to meet other partners from all over the world.
Occasionally the group hires the University minibus and has outings to places of interest. All small children are welcome. For further details, please contact Vicky Bowles in East Slope reception E firstname.lastname@example.org
English language classes
The Sussex Centre for Language Studies can assist your spouse if he/she would like to develop their English language skills. Dependants can enrol on the published fee- paying English courses and they will receive a 10 per cent discount on the published fees (except for the pre-sessional courses and 'Introduction to ELT'). At certain times of the year, the SCLS also provides free English classes (taught by trainees), which many dependants take. These courses usually take place over a period of four weeks. Details and sign-up forms can be found at the relevant times of year on the SLI SCLS
Welfare benefits are provided by the UK Government to assist people with low incomes. Most international students and their dependants, including those from the EU and EEA, are not eligible to claim welfare benefits because the benefits are either regarded as 'public funds' to which international students are not entitled, or there are other criteria such as residency requirements. The benefits include: Income Support, Jobseeker's Allowance, Housing Benefit, Tax Credits, Council Tax Benefit and Child Benefit. Benefits that are not classed as 'public funds' and which you might be able to apply for include:
Please note that neither of these lists are exhaustive.
Advice on benefits can be obtained from the Department for Work and Pensions and the Students' Union Advice Centre at Sussex. As the rules governing benefit entitlement are complex, it is essential to seek advice before making a claim.
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