Introduction — registering for medical and healthcare support:
Your university or college will assist you with guidance on registering with a ‘GP’ (‘General Practitioner’) who will be your first stop for medical and healthcare services, such as emergency visits when you are concerned about your health due to some sudden problem, fear, symptoms. Your university or college will assist you with registering with a GP that is near to your place of study (university campus, or college). Bournemouth University for example has a GP surgery/General Practice on its main Talbot Campus.
Registration with an NHS GP: https://www.nhs.uk/nhs-services/gps/how-to-register-with-a-gp-surgery/
The ‘NHS’ (the UK’s National Health Service), and NHS ‘General Practices’:
The NHS provides Western Conventional Medicine based services, rather than traditional holistic approaches as for example still followed in conjunction with WCM, in countries across Asia.
The main NHS healthcare professional you will need to have contact with is known as a GP. For sudden medical emergencies you will need to consider going to ‘Accident & Emergency’ services at your nearest General Hospital. It is essential that you phone on the number below first, rather than just going to the general hospital.
For Medical emergencies contact number: NHS 111 – call ‘111’ from your phone or mobile phone and listen to the options for the one you need.
NHS 111 is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 24 hours a day. Accessing the NHS 111 webpage provides some information to prepare for a call with an NHS 111 phone helpline operator is provided at: https://www.nhs.uk/nhs-services/urgent-and-emergency-care-services/when-to-use-111/
However, as international students, overseas nationals in the UK for a limited period of time will on technical medical care and emergency topics require interpretation services, the above page is only important for its reference to NHS 111 having a translator facility – unfortunately on that page/ink there is no phone number to call or hyperlink available for the NHS 111 emergency service for those who are overseas nationals, or who have limited English language skills.
Therefore, you should contact your NHS GP if you have concerns that your emergency medical need may need to be explained to NHS 111 helpline operators, if the latter have not been understood, or are not being responded too: make a record of the contact you have made (date, time of contact, who you spoke with) with at NHS 111.
However, the NHS provides an alphabet letter (in English) – ‘A to Z’ valuable information resource concerning medical conditions and related NHS services that it could be valuable to consult for self-help, or if needed NHS 111 and/or GP contact communication on your health condition or medical concern: https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/
The creators of this information resource advise that as the NHS does not provide direct non-English languages interpretation support translated information on its NHS 111 webpage, that you should consider seeking support, if appropriate, on your medical healthcare needs from a respected lecturer/academic of your nationality or ethnicity at your university or college, or if all else fails, requesting the Vice Chancellor or Principal to assist on signposting you to the most relevant contact.
NHS pharmacists are often valuable points of contact on medicine and guidance on medical concerns, and access to them much easier if you wish to speak in person with a healthcare professional knowledgeable in discussing symptoms. Pharmacists can often provide the information you require for appropriate medicine regarding a medical condition you have or medical concern: https://www.nhs.uk/nhs-services/prescriptions-and-pharmacies/pharmacies/how-your-pharmacy-can-help/
This can save you valuable time in a medical concern situation, and in many cases avoid need to go to the local general hospital ‘A & E’ (Accident & Emergency) department, or in many cases if you have communication difficulties in explaining your medical concern to NHS 111 operators or your GP.
Find an NHS pharmacy near you: https://www.nhs.uk/service-search/find-a-pharmacy/
Mental health related:
As well as physical health and medical conditions, preventative healthcare, and emergency medical care support, the NHS also provides mental healthcare services. Mental health conditions can as with physical health conditions can range from mild to severe and complex. Extensive research in mainly Western countries, has shown that a majority of the population of any given society or country will and do suffer from mild mental health conditions such as mild degrees of anxiety and depression; and that mental health is on a par with physical related health and wellbeing, and certainly should not be stigmatised.
Regarding mental health and wellbeing the approach taken by the 21st Century NHS is non-judgmental and is based on the basis of mental health being determined by cause and effect dynamics. As such, self-help remedies for many mental health conditions such as depression/low mood and anxiety. In some cultures, as used to be the case in 19th to early 20th Century, and earlier times, in the West, mental health can still be regarded as a matter for shame, and in some cases derived from demonic possession or being cursed.
The NHS services reject such perspectives and are constructive and non-judgmental.
Examples regarding Covid 19 related mental health impacts in UK higher education settings:
In regard to cause and effect, for example, one can have situations in your studies which build anxiety, or there may be news or bad experiences (such as being exploited or bullied) that cause you to be depressed or anxious. OCHD and the UKNFS found in many cases of students they supported on Covid 19 impacts advocacy cases in 2020 depression, high degrees of stress, frustration, anxiety were present. These due to factors outside of the students’ control, such as situations in their home countries, systems and related communication that were often felt to be inflexible, uncaring, and often tended to make them feel unjustly penalised and very disempowered (feeling they were no longer in charge of their lives, but subject to powers they had no control over, and often weren’t listening to them in rational, constructive ways, and which had the ability to ruin their hopes and dreams).
The NHS can assist you if you are subject to such conditions, and in regard to any potential disputes on how you feel you have been treated, it is certainly important to report to your GP if you are suffering from anxiety or depression (two common symptoms of which are having poor quality sleep, and difficulty to focus/concentrate on your academic studies).
For international students’ awareness, in the UK, employees facing bullying in the workplace can go to their GP if they are having new and continuing problems with sleep pattern disruption and ability to concentrate, and that these are new, unusual experiences. In such circumstances the individual/patient will commonly be granted a ‘sick note’ which means they are not obliged to work in the environment their problems are occurring in.
Normally this is for a couple of weeks but can be extended for a longer period. In terms of university or college study a note from your GP can be an important reference regarding your current living circumstances if they have changed clearly and for the worse – meaning you cannot focus/concentrate to a sufficient level on your course/studies – due to changes in your personal circumstances, or as a result of the type of impacts described above on systems and related communications. A note from your NHS GP on your mental health and wellbeing impacts can be valuable if in any dispute regarding university or college systems and communications performance, you find you are not being listened to and need to take your case to a higher level, especially if outside of the university or college.