Paying for prescriptions and medical treatment

As a student you may be entitled to full or partial exemption (on the grounds of low income) from prescription costs, as well as dental and optical charges. With prescriptions you will either qualify for full exemption or no exemption. To claim exemption, complete a HC1 application, which is available from your Student Services Hub, your doctor or dentist surgery.

If you have already paid for treatment, it is possible to claim a refund within three months with form HC5, which is also available from your hub. If you regularly have to pay prescription charges (ie for more than five prescriptions in four months) it will be more cost-effective to use a pre-payment certificate.

Southend students can register for the Academic Dental Clinic, which provides free basic dental care.

Find out where to collect your prescription.

International students

Your entitlement to free NHS primary and secondary care will depend on your immigration status. If you have a pre-existing health condition and take medication, you should check if the NHS would cover your care. Emergency NHS care is free for everyone in the UK, however, if you are admitted to hospital you will have to pay as a private patient if you do not have the right to free NHS hospital care.

EU, EEA and Swiss students

If you are entering the UK before 1 January 2021, you should be able to access NHS care whilst you are living in the UK as a student. You will need to apply for an EHIC card from your home country before you travel to the UK.

If you are entering the UK on or after 1 January 2021 and do not already have settlement in the UK, you will need to apply for a visa and the information for non-EEA students below will apply to you. 

Students from outside Europe and; EU, EEA and Swiss students entering the UK from 1 January 2021 with a student visa

If you are a student from a country outside of the EEA or you are a European student entering the UK on or after 1 January 2021 with a student visa, the following will apply:

  • If you are taking a course that lasts less than six months and have a short-term student visa, you will not be entitled to free NHS hospital care and must arrange private insurance.
  • Students on courses lasting six months or more are entitled to NHS treatment from the time of your arrival in the UK.

You can also apply for exemption from prescription, optician and dental charges on form HC1.

Your spouse and any dependent children should also be entitled to free NHS treatment provided they have a valid visa. Please be aware that if you have a baby whilst you are in the UK, they will only have access to free NHS care until they are 3 months old, unless you have obtained a visa for them.


Further information

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Need help?

If you need any further help and advice, please contact or visit the Student Services Hub who will be happy to assist you.