Register for NHS medical care, including registering with a doctor and dentist

Updated on 11 September 2023

Guidance on the National Health Services (NHS), pharmacies, opticians, and registering with a doctor or dentist.

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Using health services

In order to get the right care at the right time in the right place, please remember:

  • GP practices and local pharmacies can provide routine treatment and medical advice
  • Accident and emergency departments (A&E) should only be attended in an emergency
  • Call the NHS 24 service (telephone: 111) if your GP practice is closed and you feel you can’t wait until it reopens
  • Ambulances should only be called if someone is seriously ill or injured or their life is at risk (telephone: 999)

Register with a doctor

You should register with a local GP practice (doctors’ surgery) as soon as possible after arriving in Dundee. If you do not register you may have difficulty accessing NHS care if you need it.

If you are already registered with a GP in the UK, but not close to where you will live as a student, you are advised to transfer your NHS care  to a new GP practice and re-register in person with a new GP practice.

Contact the local GP practice that you have chosen as soon as possible as there may be limited spaces available. It is likely that you will need three forms of identification for the registration process:

  • a passport or UK driving licence
  • student ID card
  • documentation with your Dundee address on it (for example, a utility bill, rental agreement, or Confirmation of Student Status Letter)

Register with a dentist 

You should register with a dentist as soon as possible to make sure you can receive dental care.

There are a limited number of spaces for NHS clients, so you may need to try several dentists to register. If you cannot find an NHS dentist, you will  need to pay for a private dentist which will cost more.

The NHS has guides on receiving NHS dental treatment in Scotland and on what to do in a dental emergency.

Free treatment from dental students

If you are not registered with a dentist, you may be able to  register for free treatment from one of our dental students at Dundee Dental Hospital.


You can get medicines, including those prescribed by a doctor, at local pharmacies/chemists. Prescriptions are currently free of charge in Scotland.

Controls on medications in the UK may mean that medication you can normally purchase in a pharmacy in other countries may only be available by prescription here. Pharmacies can also provide advice and assistance with minor illnesses.


There is no need to register with an optician. NHS eye tests in Scotland are free but you will have to pay for your glasses or contact lenses unless exempt or on a low income.

Do I need to pay for anything? 

NHS healthcare in Scotland is free. However, you will have to pay for dental and optical treatment. 

If you are an international student in the UK, as part of your visa application you will pay for access to the National Health Service (NHS). This includes care for spouses and dependent children. The payment for this is dependent on the duration of your visa. For up to date information on these costs, see Pay for UK healthcare as part of your immigration application ( 

Getting help with health care costs

If you are on a low income, you will maybe be able to get some help with costs. Find out more on NHS inform.

Guide category Student support, Welcome