Page updated 22 September 2020
Student life can be exciting but can also bring its own stresses, especially if you are living away from home for the first time. So we’ve compiled this handy guide to help you find NHS and wellbeing services in Reading.
Covid-19 symptoms and testing
Do not visit a GP or A&E if you think you have Covid-19 symptoms. You can get advice via the NHS webiste, including details of self-isolation and how to arrange a test from the national Test and Trace service.
Locations of local drive or walk-in test sites change regularly or you may be able to order a test kit to be sent to you. The University of Reading hopes to set up a testing site on its main campus in the near fututre for students and the public.
Doctors and health advice
All GP surgeries are currently operating a phone-first system, due to Covid-19. If they think you need to be seen, they will ask you to come into the surgery. Or they will offer you a phone or video appointment. You can ask to be signed up to the electronic prescribing system so any prescriptions for medicines can be sent directly to a pharmacy of your choice.
University Health Centre, 9 Northcourt Avenue, Reading, RG2 7HE
0118 987 455
Newly arrived students can register here to ensure they can see a GP during their time in Reading. The health centre will arrange for your medical records to be transferred from your previous doctor’s surgery.
Other local GP surgeries
To find other GP surgeries accepting new patients, use the ‘Find a GP’ search tool on the official NHS website
NHS Reading Walk-In Centre, 1st floor, Broad Street Mall, Reading, RG1 7QA
0118 902 8300
The walk-in service is currently suspended due to Covid-19. When it operates normally, it is open 8am-8pm every day (including Bank Holidays) if you can’t wait to see to see your own GP, or if you are not yet registered with a GP, for minor illnesses.
NHS 111 Telephone Helpline
111 outside of normal GP hours if you need medical advice. Call handlers can give you simple self-help advice, arrange for you to speak to a clinician if needed, book you in to see an out-of-hours GP if you have urgent symptoms, advise you how to get out-of-hours help for dental emergencies, tell you where to find all all-night local pharmacy, or escalate you to emergency services if required.
NHS 111 Website
Visit the website https://111.nhs.uk, type in your symptons and get immediate advice.
Use the Find a Pharmacy search tool on the NHS website to find one nearest to you, including those which are open late for urgent prescriptions.
Visit your local pharmacy to get help and advice on a range of minor ailments and common illnesses – like sore throats, coughs, stomach problems and aches and pains, as well as emergency contraception and advice on safe sex, stopping smoking or cutting down on alcohol. Most pharmacies have consultation rooms for private conversations.
Due to Covid-19, many dentists may only have limited availability for routine check-ups or may still be only offering emergency appointments via the phone. Call 111 if you have an urgent dental problem.
The University Dental Surgery, 9 Northcourt Avenue, Reading, RG2 7HE, behind the University Health Centre. Sees NHS and private patients.
0118 975 9660
Other local NHS dentists
Use the ‘Find a dentist’ search tool on the NHS website to see which dental surgeries are accepting new patients.
Out-of-hours dental services
111 to find out where you can get emergency help or how to self-care until your usual dentist is available.
Emotional & Mental Health Support
University of Reading:
Counselling & Wellbeing Team, first floor of the Carrington Building, Whiteknights Campus. The service is running phone and video appointments only at the moment due to Covid-19.
0118 378 4216 or email email@example.com if you want to speak with a counsellor or mental health adviser.
Life Tools: talks given by university staff and other professionals throughout the year, that students can attend for free, on topics such as mindfulness, nutrition, exercise, relationships, and coping with stress. There is also a Life Tools blog.
Student Welfare Team: Advice and support on a range of life issues, such as settling in, dealing with housemates, bullying, drugs or alcohol, of help for victims of violence or crime.
Counselling is offered by the college for free, from experienced professionals, to help students with a range of issues, such as relationships, bereavement and loss, anxiety and depression, work/study problems, disabilities and eating disorders.
0300 365 2000 or visit the website.
You can self-refer to this NHS Berkshire-wide service for anxiety, depression, stress or phobias. A range of help is offered, including online cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) and tips on dealing with pressure and exams. Your GP may also refer you to Talking Therapies if you visit them with mental health issues.
This is a free counselling service for 10-25-year-olds in Reading. You can self-refer or be referred by a teacher, GP or social worker. There may be a waiting list, but very vulnerable clients are given priority.
Sexual Health & Contraception
The Florey Clinic, 21a Craven Road, Reading, RG1 5LE (near the main Royal Berkshire Hospital building)
The clinic's walk-in service is currently suspended due to Covid-19 but you can get call to get advice and they will arrange to see you in person if needed. Home testing kits for seually transmitted infections (STIs) can also be sent out to you.
0118 322 7202 between 9.30am-4.30pm
Details of The Florey and other sexual advice can all be found on the website Safe Sex Berkshire.
Where to find emergency contraception
Search for your nearest pharmacy or health service that offers emergency contraception by using this search tool on the NHS website.
999 or Go to Royal Berkshire Hospital’s Emergency Department, Craven Road, Reading, RG1 5AN.
The emergency department gives priority to patients with very serious and life-threatening conditions, such as loss of consciousness, suspected heart attack or stroke, severe breathing difficulties or severe bleeding that cannot be stopped.
If you are unsure if your problem is serious, you can phone 111, the NHS helpline, which will tell you if you need to go to A&E or give advice on alternatives services that can help you.
Drug & Alcohol Services
Change, Grow, Live is the Reading drug and alcohol service for people aged 18+, at 127 Oxford Rd, Reading, RG1 7UY. Due to Covid-19, its drop-in service is closed but you can get a phone appointment. Zoom sessions are also being offered.
0118 955 7333 9.30am-4.30pm 16:00, Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday and 12pm-4pm on Wednesdays.
Charities & Support Groups
Berkshire Women’s Aid (BWA)
0118 950 4003 or visit the website.
BWA can listen and give you information and options about housing, legal, financial, council and other services related to domestic abuse. You can also get help with somewhere safe to stay if you are too frightened to stay at home.
118 321 9111 or visit the website.
This Reading LGBT+ charity runs a helpline, counselling and support groups (currently being held online due to Covid-19).
Reading Services Guide: This is an online directory run by Reading Borough Council of local charities and organisations, including those that offer information, advice and support on health, wellbeing, disabilities, support for carers, debt and finance advice and more.
Young adults arriving from certain countries to live in the UK are eligible for a simple blood or skin test to check for 'sleeping' tuberculosis. Treatment does not affect any right to remain in the UK. The service is provided by the Royal Berkshire Hospital. Find out more at https://www.royalberkshire.nhs.uk/wards-and-services/tuberculosis.htm
Health care costs
People coming to study from a non-EU country may have to pay an ‘NHS surcharge’ for using hospital serves. Information can be found on this webpage of the UK Government website.
Still unsure how to get help?
Healthwatch Reading can help you find a local service, give you information on your NHS rights, help you make a complaint about your care, or take your feedback to help us campaign for improvements.