Managing your physical health at Uni

University of Leeds
5 min readOct 18, 2021

There are times when we need to pay particular attention to our health when we’re not feeling well.

Where to go for help if your health is something that you not have had to manage on your own before or if the UK health system is new to you.

Feeling poorly?

Stocking up on over the counter supplies and getting plenty of rest is sometimes all it takes to kick the sickness. If you’ve got a cold, or an upset tummy, getting some medication at a supermarket or local shop can normally help you feel better in a day or so.


A pharmacy (sometimes called chemist in the UK) is a place where you can get help with lots of medical issues. You can also collect medication you have been prescribed by a doctor. Here’s a list of some of the things a pharmacy can help you with — just ask!

  • Cold
  • Earache
  • Sore throat
  • Athlete’s foot
  • Thrush
  • Hay fever
  • Fever
  • Blocked nose
  • Sprain or strain
  • Cough
  • Sexual health advice (including the morning after pill)
  • Hangover
  • Rash/skin complaint

Get the NHS App

You can use the NHS App to:

  • order repeat prescriptions
  • book appointments at your GP surgery
  • get health advice — search trusted NHS information and advice on hundreds of conditions and treatments. You can also answer questions to get instant advice or medical help near you
  • view your health record
  • register your organ donation decision
  • view your NHS number

Find out more about the app

111 online

This is an online service that can help if you’re not sure what to do next. As well as providing advice and guidance, they can tell you:

  • where to get help for your symptoms, if you’re not sure what to do
  • how to find general health information and advice
  • where to get an emergency supply of your prescribed medicine
  • how to get a repeat prescription

Find out more about 111

Remember, you can also call 111 from your phone and speak to someone who may be able to help you.

Registering with a doctor (GP)

Why? Your local doctor (sometime called GP — General Practitioner) is responsible for your ongoing medical care. They provide advice and treatment, and if you need further help, they can arrange this.

Lots of students join Leeds Student Medical Practice. It’s a few minutes walk from campus. Here, it usually takes a couple of days to get registered; however, you can get registered immediately and an immediate appointment on that day if you are very ill.

If you don’t live nearby, there’s lots of places where you can register with a doctor.

Leeds student medical practice, a few minutes walk from campus

Making a doctors (GP) appointment

Your doctors surgery can help if you’re injured, unwell or have an ongoing problem that cannot be treated at home, or if you need advice on managing long-term conditions. Things like pain — chest, ear, stomach or back, changes to your skin and symptoms that don’t go away after a few days — headaches, changes to bowel habits and a persistent cough are all reasons to make an appointment.

Often a GP surgery can have a wider range of clinicians to help you, from nurses, physios etc, and different clinics such as asthma, diabetes, sexual health, alcohol and drug support and more. The medical team will decide whether a face to face appointment, video or phone call is the most suitable for you.

If it’s outside normal opening times you can ring your GP, or dial 111 (NHS 111), to access the out-of-hours service. If you have not registered with a doctor, dial 111 for expert advice on what to do next.

If you need urgent help

If you need urgent help, you should get advice from NHS 111. They will ask questions about your symptoms so you get the help you need in the right place. You can get help from or call 111. It’s available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

Walk-in centres

Walk-in centres offer health advice and treatments for a range of illnesses. They also provide traditional GP services for both registered patients and people who aren’t registered with a doctors.

Find out more about walk-in centres.

Urgent treatment centre/ minor injuries unit

Sprains, broken bones, wound infections or sudden illness — these centres can help you if you need urgent medical attention but it’s not a life-threatening situation. There’s one in Middleton in Leeds, as well as one in Otley.

Find out more about urgent treatment centres in the local area.

Emergency department (A & E) or 999

If your condition is serious or life threatening, call 999 or head to the hospital emergency department straight away.

Remember, these are for critical, life-threatening situations such as:

  • Loss of consciousness
  • Heavy blood loss that cannot be stopped
  • Persistent, severe chest pain
  • Head injuries
  • A suspected stroke or heart attack
  • Severe breathing difficulties
  • Suspected broken bones
  • A deep wound, such as a stab wound

Find your nearest emergency care provider

What else can I get help with?

There’s a huge range of NHS Services, ranging from dentists, opticians, sexual health and mental health and much more.