Accessing healthcare

The health system in the UK can be quite different to that in Ireland. The majority of healthcare is provided by the National Health Service (NHS) and GP services are free to access.

But although you skip the fees, there is less emphasis on having a “family doctor”, and you will probably see a different GP each time you visit. It is worth registering with the NHS as soon as you have settled into an area, as you will have to have a valid NHS number to attend a GP surgery. You can find out more about registering with a GP here.

Sometimes it can be difficult making a same-day appointment with your GP, as they generally fill up very quickly. If you need to see a professional for a minor injury or to avail of emergency contraception or advice, you can find your local walk-in centre here.

Alternatively, you can call 111 for telephone advice regarding less serious medical issues.

If you need medical advice or assistance regarding your sexual health, you can find specific services here.


If you have a medical emergency, you can phone 999 for an ambulance. You can also present to your nearest A&E; find the one closest to you here.

A&E departments are open 24 hours, 365 days a week, but not every hospital has one.

Emotional and Mental Health

Moving can be a stressful experience, and the pace of life and distance from friends and loved ones can sometimes cause loneliness and anxiety. If you are feeling sad, down or anxious, there are places that can help. You can make an appointment with your GP, or contact organisations such as Mind (general UK-wide mental health services) or icap (immigrant specific counselling and psychotherapy).


Other ways we help