Medical Arrangements

New Court painting

Registration with a Cambridge Doctor

General medical care is provided under the NHS by general practitioners (G.P.) in the city. Since you will be resident in Cambridge for the greater part of the year it is essential you register with a local National Health Service Doctor.  You MUST register with a Doctor within ten days of your arrival in Cambridge, and to inform the Graduate Office of the name of your Doctor.  Failure to do so may result in your having to pay for treatment.  When registering, you should note the surgery hours and arrangements of your general practitioner. Eligible overseas students may wish to register as NHS patients, but they may prefer to use their private insurance. You may be requested to go to an Emergency Primary care centre if you require a doctor out of hours.  If you have any history of previous illness you should ensure that your new Doctor has the relevant particulars (for UK residents this will be achieved by the automatic transfer of your medical records from your former Doctor). The College would find it helpful to know (in confidence) in advance of any student who is asthmatic, diabetic, dyslexic or has any other chronic illness or debilitating injury.

In the event of a serious accident in College, the injured person must receive first aid and any medical treatment as soon as possible, and the normal procedure is for the injured person or if that is not possible, the person witnessing or coming across the accident, to inform a porter, who will telephone the Ambulance Service and inform a Tutor. However, if a porter is not immediately available, dial 999; it is vitally important to give as much information as possible particularly where and what has happened, how many people are involved, and how the area can be reached by the ambulance. It is important that you arrange for the ambulance to be met at a suitable place. A Tutor or senior member of College must be informed as soon as possible. If a student is admitted, or discharged from hospital after an accident the Graduate Tutor should also be informed. In University institutions you should follow the rules laid down, which are posted in prominent positions, to deal with fire and accidents, and familiarise yourself with such arrangements, especially if you work in a laboratory.

The Accident Service, where serious accidents are dealt with, is at Addenbrooke’s Hospital, Hills Road.

Registration with a Cambridge Dentist

It is now virtually impossible to find a dentist in Cambridge willing to take on new National Health Service patients but students may register and obtain treatment with the University Dental Service at 3 Trumpington Street. EU and Overseas students should register with the Dental Service as soon as possible after arrival.  The Service will also accept UK students but a student who registers runs the risk of not being able to re-register as an NHS patient with their existing dentist at home.  If in doubt, UK students should consult the Dental Service for advice concerning registration.

Treatment at the University Dental Service is provided in accordance with National Health Service regulations and NHS charges are payable by the patient where appropriate. Private treatment is also available and the practice has a dental hygienist.

If you require routine treatment you are requested to make an appointment as early in term as possible. If you require emergency treatment you should telephone or call to arrange an appointment as early in the day as possible.

Mouth guards are recommended for all those playing contact sports. They are available from the University Dental Service at a small charge.

University Dental Service Opening times: open Monday-Friday, 9 a.m. – 12.45 p.m. and 2 p.m. – 5 p.m. Only emergencies will be dealt with outside these hours. Dental Officers’ home phone numbers can be obtained from the practice answer-phone. Tel: (3)32860.


Eye tests can be obtained either from a general practitioner, or from an optician. Where there are known problems of refraction, it is best to go directly to the optician, but, if there are other problems with eyes, it is best to consult the general practitioner first. In view of delays in carrying out ocular examination, and in obtaining new spectacles, all students should seek advice as early as possible in the academical year, certainly well before the approach of examinations. There are charges for eye tests and the provision of spectacles. Students may be able to claim back most of the cost on the grounds of low income.  You can pick up an HC1 form from CUSU Reception, GP, Addenbrooke’s Hospital or alternatively call 0854 850 1166 to get one delivered.

Sports Injuries

Sports secretaries should regularly review arrangements for dealing with accidents at sports fields.

For injuries not requiring an ambulance, you should attend either at the Accident and Emergency Service, Addenbrooke’s Hospital, Hills Road, at the surgery of your general practitioner. You are urged to seek medical advice early to keep the period of incapacity to a minimum.

For acute muscle, ligament or joint etc. injuries less than 48 hours old you should attend at the Physiotherapy Department, Addenbrooke’s Hospital (Sports Injuries Clinic), at the next clinic (held on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays) before 10.00 a.m., preferably by 9 a.m. Should the injury persist beyond this period then consult your general practitioner. The Sports Injury Clinic will not see you if you have attended the Accident and Emergency Service.

Medical Insurance

The entitlement to free medical treatment under the NHS is based on residence in the UK, not on 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. A person is ‘ordinarily resident’ for this purpose if lawfully living in the UK for a settled purpose as part of the regular order of his or her life for the time being. This includes overseas students enrolled on courses of study lasting more than six months, together with their spouses and any children aged under 16. Students enrolled on courses lasting less than six months are advised to take out a private health insurance policy.  Overseas students can also use their private insurance. Further information is available from the University of Cambridge website.

Additional Information

The University provides valuable services additional to those of the National Health Service in the form of counselling, advice for those travelling abroad on expeditions, etc.  Information about University travel insurance for registered postgraduate students is available at


All first-year students from the UK should have been to their family doctor before coming to Cambridge for the new conjugate meningitis vaccine, if not already given at school.

Overseas students should have tried to obtain the A+C vaccine from their own doctor before travelling to the UK. All students are encouraged to register with a GP as soon as they arrive in Cambridge, and if you have not been vaccinated, ask to receive an inoculation as soon as possible.

If you suspect that you or someone you know might have meningitis:

  • Don’t wait for all the symptoms to appear. Contact a doctor immediately.
  • Explain why you are concerned, describing the symptoms carefully. Ask for advice, be prepared to insist, and ask if it could be meningitis.
  • If your doctor is not available, go immediately to the nearest casualty department. Delay could be fatal.
  • If someone is ill and getting worse, even if they have already had medical attention, seek medical attention again.

The symptoms of meningitis can seem quite innocuous like those of cold, flu or even a hangover. They are:

  • High temperature or fever
  • Severe headache
  • Dislike of bright light
  • Neck stiffness (cannot touch your chin to your chest)
  • Joint or muscle pains
  • Feeling drowsy or lethargic
  • Confusion or disorientation
  • Rapid deterioration of health
  • Rash of tiny red/purple pin-prick spots which may spread to look like fresh bruising. In the majority of cases, the rash does not disappear when pressed firmly, for example if you were to press a glass against it. The rash is harder to see on dark skin.
  • Being violently sick.
  • Do not wait for all of the symptoms to appear – they may not.

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