Accessing the right healthcare – who to call and when

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Sometimes it’s difficult to know what to do if you’re feeling under the weather – do you need some rest? Could a pharmacist help? Do you need a GP appointment.

It’s important that you know which services are available and which one you need, and if you’re new to the city, where to find them.


A lot of illnesses or symptoms, such as coughs, colds, sore throats, upset stomachs and aches and pains can be treated by using over-the-counter medications and getting plenty of rest. So, it’s a good idea to get yourself a well-stocked medicine cabinet (or shelf, or bag!)

That said, some illnesses such as meningitis or sepsis can have similar symptoms to a common cold or a hangover, as can Covid, We’re adjusting our COVID-19 guidance in line with the latest government recommendations. For the latest advice, please refer to the UK government’s coronavirus information.

Self-care also includes checking that your vaccinations are up to date, including Covid vaccinations.

However, if you’re concerned about your symptoms or they persist do not ever be afraid to seek help from one of the services below:

NHS 111

You should use the NHS 111 service if you urgently need medical help or advice but it’s not a life-threatening situation. Free to call from a mobile and landline, NHS 111 can help when you access local urgent health care services. You can also access 111 online. NHS 111 is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

Pharmacist (Chemist)

Your local pharmacist can give you advice on common illnesses and the medicines you need to treat them. They are highly trained healthcare professionals and most now have private consultation spaces where you can speak to the pharmacist and many are open during the evenings and weekends. Find your nearest Pharmacy.

GP (Doctor)

If you have an illness or injury that won’t go away then it’s best to make an appointment with your GP. General practitioners (GPs) provide primary and continuing medical care in the community.

They provide a range of services by appointment, including medical advice, examinations, vaccinations and prescriptions. All are still available but you may be offered a telephone consultation in the first instance. An appointment with your GP is the best way to access other NHS services you might need (except emergency medicine) as they can refer patients to hospital clinics for further assessment or treatment.

GPs are available 24 hours a day 7 days a week via the out of hours service. You can access this by calling your GP’s normal number.

It’s really important that you register with a local GP. This year, we have a new GP surgery on The University of Manchester GP Service, a partnership with The Robert Darbishire Practice, is based on the 4th floor of Crawford House, and is open 9am to 5pm Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday, and 9am to 12pm on Wednesdays. You can register with the practice here.

Alternatively, you can fine the surgery closest to your accommodation.

Find your nearest GP

Urgent Care/Walk in Centres

If you need to see a doctor or nurse urgently, but are not an emergency case, you can access healthcare through an urgent care or walk in centre. Many are currently offering telephone services in the first instance. Please check the service websites for details – or call 111.

 The closest to the University are:

MRI Urgent Treatment Centre

Hawthorn Medical Centre

Manchester Urgent Primary Care Hub

University Occupational Health Service

The University Occupational Health Service offers confidential advice on health issues relating to your studies. They provide assessments to help ensure that health issues are effectively managed during your studies.

Emergency medicine

A&E provides immediate emergency care for people who show the symptoms of serious illness or are badly injured.

It’s important to understand that, although there are times when you might need emergency care – most of the time one of the services above can help and the Accident and Emergency department and 999 should only be used in very serious or life-threatening situations.

Emergency Dental Care

If you have a dental emergency and cannot make an appointment with your regular dentist, severe cases can be dealt with by contacting the Community Urgent Dental Care Service on Freephone telephone number 0333 332 3800 from 8am to 10pm every day of the year. Outside these hours, please call NHS 111 for urgent advice.

Further information

For more information about local NHS and health services see NHS services .

If you are suddenly taken ill on university premises, all buildings have a first-aider who can assist you there and then.

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