A quick guide to student health services

Many of our international students may not be familiar with how the UK health system works and so here is a very simple guide to help.  A list of some local services for Bristol and Bath is included at the end of this post. 

A lot of our health services are provided by the National Health Service (NHS). 

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, many services have been disrupted, so in non-life-threatening situations, you will not be seen immediately, and services may be limited. 

Details of services available to Bristol and Bath students can be found at the end of this post.  

Accidents and Emergencies – available 24 hours a day. Call 999 

If you have a serious accident or need urgent medical care for a life-threatening condition, you should call 999 from your phone and ask for an ambulance. Or it is safe to do so, you can go to your nearest hospital Accident and Emergency room (often referred to as A&E). You will be seen by a receptionist when you arrive and then you will be assessed by medical staff before you are seen for further treatment/investigation. 

You should expect to wait to be seen – average times vary but can be up to 4 hours, depending on the seriousness of your situation.  

Not sure if you should visit A&E or would like some advice? Call 111 or visit https://111.nhs.uk/ 

The NHS 111 service is available 24 hours a day. When you call, you will be asked several questions about yourself and your condition and you will be told what to do next, which could be to see a doctor, go to A&E or they may make you an appointment at an urgent treatment centre/minor injury unit. They may also advise you to see a pharmacist to get some medication. 

Urgent treatment centre/minor injury unit 

These are separate from A&E and you can go to an urgent treatment centre if you need urgent medical attention, but it’s not a life-threatening situation. These services are open at least 12 hours a day, every day – details below.  

Doctors – by appointment only 

In the UK, medical doctors working in the community are referred to as General Practitioners or GPs. They are often the first point of contact when we feel unwell and work out of GP Surgeries or GP Practices. 

You cannot go to a GP surgery/practice without first registering and then making an appointment. 

How you make an appointment will depend on the surgery. Some will offer an online system, others will need you to call them directly – you may be kept on hold, while you wait to speak to someone.  

When it’s your turn, you will speak with the receptionist first and you should be prepared to explain why you need to see a doctor – this helps them decide which service you require. Sometimes you may be offered a telephone appointment, where the doctor will call you or you may be offered an in-person appointment at the surgery with a doctor or nurse.  

Depending on how serious your condition is, you may have to wait to see a doctor, it could be up to two weeks. 

Student Health Service 

If you live in the practice area you will be able to register with the Student Health Service, which offers a full GP surgery to university students and their families.  

If your condition changes or gets worse, whilst you are waiting to see the doctor, you can call 111 for advice or 999 if life-threatening. 

If you no longer need to see the doctor, please cancel your appointment. 

Pharmacists 

If your doctor decides you need medication, you’ll need to collect it at a pharmacy. Your doctor will write a prescription which they can give to you or can send directly to your nominated pharmacy (you may have nominated one when you first registered at the surgery)  

If you are feeling unwell or have a simple problem – a cough, common cold, flu-like symptoms, mild eye or ear infection. –  you can go directly to the pharmacy and ask for their advice as they can offer a variety of medicines without a prescription.  

In the UK most people have to pay for their medicine/prescriptions, however, you can check to see if you are entitled to free prescriptions here.  

If you think you have a more serious condition, you can call 111, arrange to see your doctor, or if severe, go to A&E. You should not put off seeking help if you are unwell. 

For further information on health services for international students, please visit: http://www.bristol.ac.uk/students-health/international-students/ 

For further info on general student health services, please visit: –  http://www.bristol.ac.uk/students-health/international-students/health-services-in-the-uk/ 

Services 

Bristol 

Student Health Service 

Hampton House, St Michael’s Hill, Bristol BS6 6AU. 

Accident and Emergency 

  • Bristol Royal Infirmary – Marlborough Street, Bristol BS2 8HW 
  • Southmead Hospital – Southmead Road, Westbury-on-Trym , Bristol, Avon, BS10 5NB 

Urgent medical care centres 

  • Bristol Urgent Treatment Centre, Hengrove Promenade BS14 0DE 
  • Yate Minor Injury Unit, 21 West Walk Yate BS374AX 
  • Clevedon Minor Injury Unit, Old Street Clevedon BS21 6BS 

Bath  

Accident and Emergency  

Royal United Hospitals, Bath, Combe Park, Bath, Avon, BA1 3NG 

The minor injury unit is also next to the A&E Department.  

To find a GP – if you cannot register with the Student Health Service 

https://www.nhs.uk/service-search/find-a-gp 

To find a dentist 

https://www.nhs.uk/service-search/find-a-dentist 

Getting to know our University Police Officer

University of Bristol PGCE graduate, Sian Harris, tells us more about her role as our Universtiy Police Officer and how it differs from Security Services.

Sian Harris, University Police Officer

Sian joined Avon and Somerset Police in 2005 and has spent her Police career to date in uniform, either as part of the 24/7 response teams or neighbourhood policing teams.

Tell us more about your work and what it involves?

I deal with a wide range of incidents – both those reported to me by the University such as drugs possession and criminal damage or burglary, and those reported by students and staff, for example bike thefts, assaults and harassment. I also act as a liaison between Avon and Somerset Police and the University.

I’m part of the neighbourhood policing team which means that I have responsibility for a designated community, in this case the University. My role doesn’t differ to any other neighbourhood officer.

There is no typical day here – there never is in policing – but I try to create a good mix between desk-based work (answering email/phone enquiries, updating crime reports …) and being out on patrol. I patrol both on foot and by car and will include both University buildings and Halls of Residence.

How would you explain the difference between your role and a Security Officer?

Although, I work very closely with the security team, and we often respond to jobs together/work together to tackle on-going issues, criminal investigations are my responsibility. I liaise with victims, interview suspects just as any other Police Officer would.

Our joint aim is to create a safe environment for students and staff. Security Services will often be your first point of contact. Their knowledge of the site and access to buildings will mean that they are often the best people to contact in the first instance. Just like police, the security team have an emergency and non-emergency number and as you’d expect, emergency calls will always be prioritised. Security Officers will then contact other services if required. If they identify that a crime has been committed, they will take details and preserve evidence and then pass it on to police to continue the investigation and deal with the offence – often this is me, but could also be other officers on duty in Bristol at the time.

We also both wear body worn cameras, although Security Services only started wearing these from January 2021 to further protect students and staff and reduce crime on campus.

What’s your favourite part of the job?

It’s definitely the variety. You never know what each day is going to bring. I’m up for the challenge and enjoy making a positive contribution to this diverse community.

Sian is based in the Security Services building at Royal Fort Lodge and happy to be contacted via phone or email to answer questions and offer advice. Please do get in touch with her if you need to:

Welcome to the University of Bristol  

 A welcome message from Pro Vice-Chancellor for Student Experience Professor Sarah Purdy  and Pro Vice-Chancellor for Education Professor Tansy Jessop

We hope that you’re all settling in well and enjoying your time in our wonderful city – whether you’re a new student or returning to Bristol. As your studies have begun, we wanted to check in and remind you of a few things to help you get the most out of your time here.

During your time with us, we highly recommend that you explore Bristol, including the different areas beyond Clifton and the central campus. Bristol has so much to offer – diverse food, art, music, as well as museums, parks and waterways. Make sure you visit the newly refurbished Senate House, including brand new bar, The Beckford, and the Bristol SU Loft, which are great places to relax, unwind and connect with other students. While you’re on campus, check out the brand-new meningitis research mural near the Biomedical Sciences Building which aims to motivate and inspire the public to join the fight against meningitis and remember to familiarise yourself with the symptoms.

We all know life can be challenging at times, so we offer a comprehensive range of wellbeing services and support if you need it, including self-help resources and access to specialist services where you can speak to staff. We’ve also put together a study support package to help you develop excellent online and in-person learning techniques. We also encourage you to actively use available teaching rooms on campus, which can also be found on this web page – see the ‘Find a live learning space’ button.

To keep our community safe, we ask you to wear a face covering when inside all campus buildings, including teaching spaces, unless you are exempt. This includes walking around corridors and generally moving around inside buildings. Find out more about how to keep safe on campus.

We also want everyone to have a fun and safe time when out and about in Bristol. So, make sure you look after each other on nights out. Check in with your friends and let them know where you’re going, plan how you’re getting home and keep an eye on your drink. Read our blog post for some useful resources to help make your night out safe .

We hope you enjoyed Welcome Week and finding out about the University and Students’ Union. Please take a few moments to fill in the SU Welcome Survey and share your feedback on Welcome Week, so we can continue to improve our welcome activities!

We hope you have an amazing term with us – we’re really looking forward to seeing everyone on campus this year and to enjoying University life together!

Best wishes,
Sarah and Tansy

Professor Sarah Purdy             Professor Tansy Jessop
Pro Vice-Chancellor                  Pro Vice-Chancellor
Student Experience                  Education

 

Staying safe on a night out

The legendary Bristol nightlife is coming back to life again! 

Bristol is a city that knows how to have fun so here are some useful resources to help make your fun night out a safe night out.

  • The city of Bristol want you to enjoy the nightlife to the max. Bristol City Council have recently launched Bristol Rules – a campaign to encourage us to stay safe, respect each other and call out inappropriate behaviour. Here are their helpful links and tips on how we can all help each other to have fun and stay safe in Bristol. 
  • Bristol city council have also joined forces with Avon and Somerset Police and Bristol city Centre BID to address the serious concerns around drink spiking. The Stop Spiking campaign provides helpful advice on how to recognise when drinks spiking may have occured, what to do if you think a drink has been spiked and where you can get support in Bristol. Find out more here.
  • Bristol Students Union have listed some practical tips on how to stay safe this Autumn. Check out their useful links on seeking support around drugs or alcohol.  
  • Our Security Serivces are always on hand to support on campus too. They operate 24/7/365 to help us learn, live and have fun in a safe and secure environment. Find out here how you can contact them and read their useful tips on personal safety. Point number one is to add the Security Control Room number (0117 9287848) and emergency number (0117 3311223) to your contacts on your phone.  
  • Did you know we also have our very own neighborhood police officer to support Security Services? Read our recent interview with Sian Harris who gives us an insight into the role she plays at the University
  • If you, or someone you know, experience unwanted actions or behaviour, the University has teams in place to listen and support you. Find out how you can report unacceptable behaviours and what support is available to you here.   

Don’t forget, look out for each other, plan how you’re getting home, keep an eye on your drink and remember to respect your neighbours. Have fun! 

 

Joint University of Bristol and Bristol Students’ Union statement in response to murder of Sarah Everard (March 2021)

Dear student

The sad and shocking news of the death of Sarah Everard  (March 2021) highlights the vital importance of the safety and wellbeing of women and people of historically oppressed genders. The University of Bristol and Bristol Students’ Union are tackling gender-based harassment and violence together, and will continue this critical work to ensure all students feel as safe as possible wherever they are, both on and around campus.

Public sexual harassment and sexual violence at UK universities and across our society is a serious issue. We have a robust and confidential system in place to help students report incidents and to support anyone impacted by these recent events.

(more…)

My COVID-19 university experience outside of student life

I’m George and I’m studying BSc Politics and International Relations.

What volunteering I’m doing whilst studying

Whilst at university I’m volunteering as a Special Constable with our local police force, Avon and Somerset Police. In this role, I hold the same powers as a regular police officer and patrol alongside them by preventing and detecting crime to help keep the community safe. Engaging with the community through my volunteering has allowed me to engage with the wider community, which is great because I learn something new or exciting about Bristol every day. I volunteer at least 16 hours a month, however I recognise the importance of breaking the study cycle at university so often commit to more hours.

(more…)

Meet Tony Cowley. One of the Security team helping to keep us all safe.

Keeping students and staff safe in residencies and on campus is no mean feat with a community of around 40,000 people and almost 400 buildings to care for 24/7. We talk to Tony Cowley, Security Supervisor, to clarify the role of security in residencies and why following the rules mean we’ll all be safer. 

Tell us more about your team and the different Security Services staff that students will encounter in residencies. 

I’ve been at the University for nearly two years now and I lead a team of Security Officers that provide an in-house security service across the whole university estate, which includes keeping over 370 buildings, 9 halls of residences and the students and staff therein, safe and secure, 24/7. We respond to everything from fellow student complaints to fire incidents to building access issues  no day is ever the same and dealing with such a large campus certainly keeps us busy! 

(more…)

The weekend is here!

Wow, what a week! We hope that you’re all coping well during the current national lockdown – remember to look after yourselves and each other, and check in on your friends, family and loved ones.  

Just because we’re in lockdown, it doesn’t mean you can’t have fun!  

Here are some ideas for this weekend: 

(more…)

Dealing with grief, life-threatening illnesses, and everything and anything in-between… (now more important than ever)

This post was written for the University community by one of our students

Dear staff members and students,

These past months have been a challenge for us all – everything grounding to a halt during ‘lockdown’, disruptions to university teach, working and studying from home, and new difficulties such as quarantine. A lot of staff members and students will have had to deal with isolation from loved ones, illness in the family, and bereavement.

Facing grief and illness, or the anxiety of the possibility, has perhaps never been more widespread. Covid-19 has brought home hard truths and moved to centre stage the possibility of losing someone or getting ill. Dealing with illness and grief can be life-changing and the current restrictions add additional difficulties.

(more…)

Students supporting students

Third year English student Alice Baxter describes the new group she helped set up to support self-isolating students.

The Student to Student Covid Relief Scheme has been set up to help isolating and vulnerable students. The University are of course providing basic food boxes, but some of us need a little more. Students can request items discreetly and we will organize for one of our volunteers to transport them to the isolating flat.

Student to Student Bristol Covid Relief Scheme banner (more…)