Student Health & Wellbeing Guide

Shahanaz with our new A5 guide of local services being handed out at Freshers’ Fairs in September 2018.

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, such as GP surgeries, counsellors or other mental health support, contraception, emergency help or a support group.

If you can’t find what you need, or you need advice about your NHS or social care rights, then give Healthwatch Reading a call – it’s our job to help local people and our service is FREE, INDEPENDENT and CONFIDENTIAL.

GP & Primary Care Services

University Health Centre, 9 Northcourt Avenue, Reading, RG2 7HE

Call 0118 987 455

Newly arrived students can register with the University Health Centre to ensure they have access to 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

Call 0118 902 8300

Drop in between 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 or injuries. You don’t need to pre-book, just turn up at the reception desk and then wait to be seen by a health professional. People may be seen according to their clinical need, not necessarily in the order of when they arrived.

NHS 111 Telephone Helpline

Call 111 outside of normal GP hours if you need medical advice.  Calls will be answered by the Thames Valley 111 Integrated Urgent Care Centre, which 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.

Local Pharmacies

Use the Find a Pharmacy search tool on the official 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.

NHS Dentists

The University Dental Surgery, 9 Northcourt Avenue, Reading, RG2 7HE, behind the University Health Centre
Open 9am-1pm and 1.30pm-5pm, Monday to Friday. Call 0118 975 9660
Provides NHS or private dentistry services to staff, students and members of the public.

Other local NHS dentists

Use the ‘Find a dentist’ search tool at the official NHS website to see which dental surgeries are accepting new patients.

Out-of-hours dental services

Call 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, call 0118 378 4216 or email if you want to see a counsellor or mental health adviser.
The service is open 10am – 12pm and 1pm-3pm on weekdays, except during University closure periods and on Bank Holidays.

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.

Reading College:

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.

Contact: Dr Gillian Brooks by emailing or phone 07779089686. A confidential post box can also be found outside the main ground floor counselling office in student services.

Talking Therapies

Call 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.

No 5:

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. Sessions are run 4-9pm Mon-Fri to avoid clashes with study or work. There is a waiting list of around 3-4 months, but very vulnerable clients are given priority.

Text: 07984 357551, call 0118 901 5668, email or visit the website.

Mental Health Crisis Team

Call this local NHS team on 0300 363 0300 or 0300 365 9999

This service is run by Berkshire Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust. If you are at risk of immediately harming yourself or others, call 999.

Sexual Health & Contraception

The Florey Clinic, 21a Craven Road, Reading, RG1 5LE (near the main Royal Berkshire Hospital building)

Open until 7am-7pm most weekdays, and also on Saturday mornings

Drop in to this free NHS walk-in service for STI testing & contraception, including emergency contraception. The Florey also provides ongoing care and treatment for people living with HIV. Check this webpage for more details of their opening and specialist clinic details.

Pharmacies offering emergency contraception

Information on the official NHS website shows the following Reading pharmacies offering emergency contraception:

Boots, Upper Ground Level, The Oracle, Reading, RG1 2AH. Call 0118 958 7529. Open Until 8pm

Superdrug Pharmacy, 55-59 Broad Street, Reading, RG1 2AF. Call 0118 959 9772. Open until 6pm

Boots, 47-48 Broad St, Reading, RG1 2AE. Call 0118 957 1135. Open Until 6pm

Saood pharmacy, 104a Oxford Road, Reading, RG1 7LL. Call 0118 957 2687. Open most days until 7pm

Boots, Reading Station, Brunel Arcade, Reading, RG1 1LT. Call 0118 959 1523. Open until 8pm

Newdays Pharmacy, 60 Wensley Road, Coley Park, Reading, RG1 6DJ. Call 0118 959 0270. Open until 5:30pm

Lloyds Pharmacy, Milman Road Health Centre, Milman Road, Reading, RG2 0AR. Call 0118 986 4015. Open until 6:30pm

Western Elms Pharmacy, 351-353 Oxford Road, Reading, RG30 1AY. Call 0118 958 6502. Open until 5:30pm

Tesco Instore Pharmacy, Napier Road, Reading, RG1 8DF. Call 0345 677 9573. Open until 10:30pm

Oxford Road Pharmacy, 270-274 Oxford Road, Reading, RG30 1AD. Call 0118 957 4999 Late night pharmacy, check website for opening times.

Safe Sex Berkshire

website with lots of information and advice, from NHS Berkshire Sexual Health Services.

Life-Threatening Emergencies

Call 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

IRIS, the Reading drug and alcohol service for people aged 18+, 127 Oxford Rd, Reading, RG1 7UY
Call 0118 955 7333 or drop in. More information is on the website.

Charities & Support Groups

Berkshire Women’s Aid (BWA)

Call the Helpline on 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. BWA also provide a drop in every Wednesday at Reading Central Library from 9-5, if you want information or are concerned about your welfare.


Call 0118 321 9111 or visit the website.

This Reading LGBT+ charity runs a drop-in centre and support groups, including Trans* Support Group, the LGBT+ Youth Group (Affinity), monthly TV/CD Social Group, and regular sexual health and HIV testing.

Other charities & groups in Reading:

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.

Your NHS Rights 


These medications are free for everyone:

  • prescribed contraceptives
  • medicines supplied at an NHS clinic or hospital for the treatment of: a mental disorder (for people with a supervised community treatment order) or tuberculosis
  • any medicine administered at an NHS hospital.

Students may be eligible to get all their NHS prescriptions for free, depending on age, medical conditions, if you are pregnant or just had a baby, and your income.

Find out more in this official NHS easy read guide.

Other NHS costs:

Visit this NHS website page to find out what items or care you might have to pay for (such as dentist visits), and whether you are exempt from any charges.

International students

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.

How NHS services must treat, respect and  involve you

The NHS Constitution (2015): This sets out your rights, as enshrined in UK law, on how the NHS and its staff must treat you. It covers things like being treated with dignity and respect, access to your medical records, confidentiality of your information, being involved in decisions about your care, receiving apologies for mistakes, and the right to complain about any concerns you have. The Constitution also describes your patient responsibilities, such as keeping your appointments, and not abusing staff.

If you feel your rights have been breached and you want to raise a concern or complaint, you are entitled to help from an NHS Complaints Advocacy Service – for people living in Reading, this service is provided by the Reading Voice advocacy hub (run by Healthwatch Reading), and is FREE, INDEPENDENT & CONFIDENTIAL.

Useful Apps

Student Health App

Students can download the Student Health App for free from Apple or Google app stores. It contains 900 pages on over 125 physical and mental health topics. It is also listed on the NHS Apps Library.

Hollie Guard App

Turns your smartphone into a personal safety device. Shaking or tapping the phone will generate an alert and your location and audio or video evidence will be automatically sent to a designated contact. It can also emit a high-pitched alarm or flash to attract attention. The app is named after a Gloucester woman murdered by her abusive boyfriend and was created for a charity that was set up after her death.

Bright Sky App:

This free app provides support and information to anyone who may be in an abusive relationship or those concerned about someone they know. The app can give information in four languages: English, Urdu, Punjabi or Polish and also allows users to record incidents on the app rather than their device.