The National Health Service (NHS) is the publicly funded health care system in the UK. They provide the majority of healthcare in the UK including GPs, in-patient care and long-term healthcare. The three main ways you will come into contact with the NHS are doctor’s surgeries, hospitals and accident and emergency (A & E) departments.
Registering with a doctor’s surgery
You will need to register as an NHS patient with a local doctor's surgery. Find out more about choosing a doctor and how to register.
What service you can expect from your doctor
If your condition is non-urgent, you can expect to see a doctor within two working days, although waiting times will depend upon the size of the doctor’s surgery. It is essential that you keep appointments and if you can't that you give your doctor at least one day's notice. If you have communication difficulties, or if you think you need more time to discuss issues with your doctor, you should be able to book a longer appointment.
Your doctor will usually be supported by a team of nurses, health visitors and midwives, as well as other specialists, including physiotherapists and occupational therapists.
Getting specialised treatment and equipment
Your doctor can supply you with treatment and/or equipment depending on your requirements. They can also refer you to specialist services in a hospital or other community setting. Some arrangements may be important to sort out before going to see your doctor for an appointment. For example, if you are deaf or have a hearing impairment, arrangements can be made for a sign language interpreter to be present.
After-hours (emergency) service
All doctors’ surgeries will have an out of normal hours emergency service. This service is only for urgent medical problems that cannot be left unattended until the surgery re-opens. Check with your surgery for out-of-hours surgery arrangements.
If you have a non-emergency but urgent health concern you can also call NHS 111.
Ambulance service - dial 999
If it is obvious you or someone else needs immediate emergency treatment, dial 999, free from any public or private telephone, and ask for the ambulance service.
Accident and emergency departments
The John Radcliffe Hospital has a 24-hour Accident and Emergency (A and E) department where you can turn up without making an appointment. You may have to wait, even if your injuries are serious, before being seen by a doctor or nurse. How long you wait will depend upon:
- how busy the department is
- the seriousness of other patients' conditions
- if your condition will get worse if left
Damira Dental Studios, Oxford is a dental practice situated in the Colonnade at Headington Campus that provides NHS dental care to students and staff of Brookes.
Eye care is provided by opticians who usually operate from high street shops. There are many opticians in Oxford city centre. You can register with any opticians by booking an appointment.
All staff at the University who regularly use VDUs are entitled to a subsidised eye test and can claim reimbursement towards the purchase of spectacles. See Vision Assessment and Correction Scheme.