Healthcare Information in English
This website has information on healthcare and the NHS: the National Health Service.
If you cannot find what you want on the site or need more help or support you can phone or WhatsApp Asylum Welcome.
What to do if someone is ill or unwell
If you are worried about your health or somebody else’s health, the situation is not life-threatening but you need advice to know what to do.
- During office hours (8.30 – 17.00, Monday-Friday) phone your doctor’s (GP) surgery or visit your local pharmacist.
- You can also PHONE 111, you can ask for an interpreter. Or go online to 111.NHS.uk. You will be given advice and if needed they can arrange for a home visit.
- If a health professional has given you a phone number to call when you are concerned about your condition, use that number.
- The out-of-hours 111 service provides urgent medical care from 6.30pm to 8.00 am on weekdays and around the clock at weekends and on bank holidays. It can help you if, for example, you have a fever or sickness but do not need to go to a hospital Emergency Department.
What to do in an Emergency
- PHONE 999 when your life or someone’s life is in danger. Describe what has happened. You will be sent an NHS ambulance if this is needed
- In an emergency you can also go straight to any hospital which has an Accident and Emergency Department (A&E). These are open 24 hours. The John Radcliffe Hospital in Oxford has an Accident and Emergency Department: John Radcliffe Hospital, Headley Way, Headington, Oxford OX3 9DU.
There are other Out of Hours NHS Services in Oxfordshire
- Minor Injuries / First Aid Units. You do not need to make an appointment for these. In these units, nurses can treat minor Injuries.
These units can treat
- Minor bumps to the head
- Sprains, broken bones, fractures and dislocated fingers
- Minor burns, cuts and bruises
- Nose bleeds
- Bites and stings
- Simple ear, nose and eye problems things like the removal of splinters
There are Minor Injury units in:
John Radcliffe Hospital, Headley Way, Headington, Oxford OX3 9DU
Tel: 0300 3047777
Open 8.30-6.30 (excluding bank holidays).
The John Radcliffe A&E department has a service for minor urgent problems (often a long wait to be seen) as well as a major side for more serious emergencies
Abingdon Community Hospital, Marcham Road, Abingdon OX14 1AG
Tel: 01865 903476
The service is available seven days a week: 10.00 am -10.30 pm.
Get directions to the hospital here.
Witney Minor Injuries, Witney Community Hospital, Welch Way, Witney OX28 6JJ
Tel: 01865 903 841
(Minor Injuries) The service is available seven days a week: 10.00 am -10.30 pm.
Get directions to the hospital here.
If you are worried, depressed, anxious or feel stressed and think you need help there are people you can contact:
● MIND provides advice and support to anyone experiencing mental health problems. If you need to speak in your own language they will use google translate when you call. When you have an appointment, they will use Language Line. MIND is open Monday to Thursday, 9.30 am to 4.30 pm; Friday 9.00 am to 4.00 pm. The service is closed on bank holidays. To contact: call 01865 247788 or text them on 07451 277973. Email on email@example.com
● Talking space plus is a free NHS service for people who are feeling low, anxious or stressed. Website is in English: https://www.oxfordhealth.nhs.uk/talkingspaceplus/ To contact: call 01865 901222 during the day or fill in a form on the website. Ask for an interpreter.
● Oxford Safe Haven (website in English) – Oxford Health NHS Foundation Trust offers mental Health Support to people over 18 who are having a mental health crisis. To contact them, phone, or ask someone to phone for you, give your name, a contact number and your language. They will phone you back on the same day with an interpreter. They offer phone support every day of the week and face-to-face support in Oxford every evening from 6 pm-10 pm. Tel 01865 903037 or email OSH@oxfordshireMid.org.uk
● BOLOH: A helpline for Asylum seekers. BOLOH work to support emotional health and wellbeing. If you are an asylum seeker, contact BOLOH on 08001512605. BOLOH will provide an interpreter who speaks your language. You can also contact their helpline: https://helpline.barnardos.org.uk/
● Oxfordshire Sport in Mind runs some free daytime sports courses in Oxfordshire https://www.sportinmind.org/oxfordshire The information is only in English so ask someone to translate for you. Click on the logo below to find a timetable.
You do not need a medical diagnosis to join a class, you apply online. You only need to apply once and you can then attend as many, or as few, classes as you want. The classes are not only for people with mental health conditions. If you are lonely, depressed or isolated these might help.
Oxfordshire Sport in Mind youth activities
Fun, free sport and games sessions in Didcot for youth mental wellbeing.
Free after-school classes are held every Thursday in term time at the Willowbrook Leisure Centre Didcot from 5-6 pm. No cost. No equipment is needed but, if possible, wear comfortable clothing and trainers. To book, email: firstname.lastname@example.org
The National Health Service
● Everyone living in England can register with a GP (doctor) and receive treatment from a GP practice. You do not need to provide proof of address or ID.
● Information on the NHS and the services it offers
Subtitled video on how to navigate the NHS here. A video explaining the different NHS services, from General Practice to A&E and when and how to use them. Select the settings icon at the bottom right of the screen. Then select subtitles. Then choose your language.
There is more information on health on this website here.
Go to the site, select your language and then look at the list of topics. To get information choose one of the topics. You can get information on Covid and on vaccinations on this site.
● How the NHS works and how to find and register with a doctor (GP) Website here. Choose the language you need.
To show you have a right to UK healthcare you can get a GP access card online.
Go to this website. Select the picture of the access card and print it. You can take the this to show the surgery.
- Help with costs of treatment
All asylum seekers are entitled to an HC2 certificate. This certificate entitles you to full help with health costs, including NHS dental treatment, NHS sight tests, cost of glasses and contact lenses, NHS wigs and fabric support and a refund of the cost of travel to and from hospital for treatment. Ask an advisor about this.
If you are not an asylum seeker but are finding it difficult to pay for medicines or for glasses, you may get help to pay the cost of medicines or glasses through the Low Income Scheme. Ask an advisor about this or apply at https://services.nhsbsa.nhs.uk/apply-for-help-with-nhs-costs/apply-online (site is in English)
A GP surgery can refuse to register you because:
- They are not taking any new patients.
- You live outside the practice boundary and they are not accepting patients from out of their area.
- You have been removed from that GP surgery register before.
The surgery is a long way from your home and you need extra care, for example home visits.
If you have problems registering with a GP surgery:
Ring the NHS England Customer Contact Centre on 0300 311 22 33 or contact your local Healthwatch.
For Oxford Healthwatch ring 01865 520 520 They will help you find a GP.
To help you let a doctor know what you want to say you can use a Patient Communication Card.
This is a double-sided card with useful vocabulary and phrases with translations. It can be used to speed up and clarify communication about health problems.
The card comes in different languages. To change to your language: delete Dari from the website address and put in the language you want.
- Pharmacists give confidential advice on medicines and common health conditions. They also dispense medicines prescribed by a GP. Some work in chemist shops so they are easy to find, others work in GP surgeries and in hospitals. If your GP gives you equipment, things like asthma inhalers or glucose monitors, they can show you how to use them.
- Opticians work in Optician shops in towns. They will do NHS sight tests. You can make an appointment for a test at one of their shops. You may have to pay for the test and for glasses, but people on asylum support, on some benefits or with some medical conditions do not pay. Ask Asylum Welcome advisors or other advisors if you can apply for a HC2 form. This certificate provides free NHS sight tests, glasses and contact lenses and refund of necessary cost of travel to and from hospital for treatment. Most opticians also offer advice on minor eye conditions such as sore, red or dry eyes.
Other medical professionals who offer help
- District and community nurses work in the community and in people’s homes and in care homes. They visit housebound patients in their own homes, helping people to manage their symptoms. They help families learn how to care for their relative and give help with managing medications. They can also support people whose life is ending.
- Physiotherapists help to restore movement for people affected by injury, illness or disability. They work in hospitals, some doctor’s surgeries and some can visit people at home.
- Occupational therapists work with patients They develop treatment plans to help people recover, improve or develop better living habits. They also help people manage their daily activities, time and social lifestyles.
If you are registered with a local GP and have:
- Red, dry, gritty and uncomfortable eyes.
- Irritation and inflammation of your eye.
- A sticky discharge from your eye or a watery eye.
- Flashes or floaters.
- In-growing eyelashes.
- A recent and sudden loss of vision or something in your eye.
Go to this website and put in your postcode to find an optician near you who can help.
Ring the optician you choose. They may not be able to speak your language so get an advisor or friend to call for you. The person who answers the phone will ask about your symptoms and then a clinician will ring you back by phone or video call.
If you then have an appointment with the optician, they may put drops in your eyes. You should not drive until the effects of the drops have worn off. If you need a further appointment at the hospital eye clinic one will be booked for you, or you may be advised to see your GP.
This service is not available for children under 6. If you cannot get an appointment at one of the opticians on the list you can try other opticians.
For eye emergencies
Ring your GP surgery if they are open or go to your nearest Minor injuries Unit in Abingdon, Oxford or Witney.
If you have an eye trauma, chemical splash or severe eye pain phone NHS 111 and they will make a time for you in the Emergency Department (A&E). NHS 111 can provide an interpreter.
In an emergency you can also go straight to any hospital which has an Accident and Emergency Department (A&E). These are open 24 hours.
The John Radcliffe Hospital in Oxford has an Accident and Emergency Department:
John Radcliffe Hospital, Headley Way, Headington, Oxford OX3 9DU
For dental emergencies phone 111 and ask for a translator if you need one.
Finding an NHS dentist
Everyone should have good-quality NHS dental services. To find dental practices that take NHS patients near you Search for one here by postcode. Phone the dentist to ask if there are any appointments. You may have to phone more than one dentist. The dentist may not be able to see you at once, you may have to go on a waiting list.
If you are an asylum seeker and have an HC2 form, treatment is free. If you are having trouble paying, ask about the Low Income Scheme, this can pay for treatment. link to info on this?
Problems finding an NHS dentist. If after contacting several dental practices you still can’t find a dentist accepting NHS patients, you should ring NHS England’s Customer Contact Centre on 0300 311 2233.
For more information on dental care go to this website. Select a language, then select oral health.
This website has useful information and translations. To access the translations, click on the SPEAK AND TRANSLATE BUTTON and then click on the yellow highlighted box and you can choose your language.
Maternity Care in the UK
In the UK, maternity care is provided by Midwives. Every pregnant person is under the care of a named midwife, who will plan your care for pregnancy, birth and the first days with your new baby. The midwife will provide most of your care herself, and arrange for you to see other professionals (such as a doctor) or support workers as necessary.
What is a Midwife?
Midwives provide skilled, knowledgeable and compassionate care for childbearing women. Midwifery care, provided by trained midwives working in partnership with other professionals in a well-resourced health service, has been shown to improve outcomes for women, infants and families.
In the UK, midwives are required to attend university and obtain a degree which has been approved by the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC). They are then licensed and regulated by the NMC and required to uphold its professional standards.
How do I access a Midwife?
If you are pregnant, you can access a Midwife by contacting your GP surgery and requesting a Midwife appointment.
You can read more about what to expect at your first midwifery appointment here.
You can read more about the antenatal (pregnancy) care you can expect here.
Information about antenatal care is also available in Dari, Pashto, Russian and Ukrainian.
How can I access information and advice?
The NHS ‘Mum and Baby’ app provides information on pregnancy, birth and postnatal care, as well as local information and a guide to your appointments and options for birth. Download the app from Google Play or the Apple Store.
Advice and information for a safer pregnancy in Ukranian, Arabic, Bengali, Chinese, English, French, Polish, Portuguese, Punjabi, Spanish, Turkish, Urdu and Welsh is available here.
Maternity safety information in Amharic, Arabic, Bengali, English, Farsi, Hundi, Kurdish, Somali, Spanish, Tigrinya and Urdu is available here.
Information about pre-eclampsia and why blood pressure and urine is tested in pregnancy in Afrikaans, Albanian, Bengali, Chinese, Croatian, Farsi, French Greek, Gujurati, Hindi, Italian, Kurdish, Norwegian, Polish, Portuguese, Punjabi, Romanian, Somali, Tamil, Turkish, Twi, Urdu, Vietnamese and Welsh is available here.
Information about pregnancy, birth and parenthood in Ukranian, Arabic, Polish and Chinese is available here.
Videos about the importance of fetal movements are available in:
What tests will I be offered?
Information about screening tests offered to you and your baby in Arabic, Bengali, Chinese, French, Latvian, Lithuanian, Polish, Portuguese, Punjabi, Romanian, Somali, Urdu is available here.
A video about screening tests, with subtitles in Arabic, Bengali, Chinese, French, Latvian, Lithuanian, Polish, Portuguese, Punjabi, Romanian, Somali and Urdu, is available here.
What will happen during labour and birth?
Information about labour and birth in English, Dari, Pashto, Russian and Ukranian can be found here.
Information about pain relief in labour and for caesarean sections in Albanian, Arabic, Bulgarian, Chinese, Danish, Dari, Farsi, French, German, Gujarati, Hebrew, Irish, Italian, Kurdish, Lithuanian, Polish, Portuguese, Punjabi, Romanian, Russia, Sinhala, Slovenian, Somali, Spanish, Tagalog, Tamil, Tigrinya, Turkish, Ukranian, Urdu and Welsh is available here.
How do I feed my baby and keep them safe?
Information about breastfeeding in the first few days is available in English, Dari, Pashto, Russian and Ukranian.
Information on breastfeeding and bottle feeding in Arabic, Bengali, Hindi, Lithuanian, Mandarin, Polish, Romanian, Slovak, Turkish, Ukranian and Urdu is available here.
Information on safe sleeping practices is available in:
- Simplified Chinese
Tools to help you communicate
Your midwife and any doctors involved in your care will want to discuss your wishes with you. You can use the personal care plans below to help you express and share your wishes:
- Personal care plans (pdf, 819 KB)
- Arabic Personal Care Plan (pdf, 921 KB)
- Gujarati Personal Care Plan (pdf, 796 KB)
- Polish Personal Care Plan (pdf, 758 KB)
- Punjabi Personal Care Plan (pdf, 821 KB)
Your Birth Rights. Everyone having a baby has the right to be treated with kindness, dignity and respect. Information about your human rights in childbirth in Albanian, Amharic, Arabic, Bengali, Chinese, Dari, Gujarati, Farsi, English, French, Hindi, Kurdish Sorani, Punjabi, Somali, Spanish and Urdu is available here.
What is parenthood like?
Tips and advice for new parents on a variety of topics in English, Arabic, Bengali, Bulgarian, Chinese, Dari, Farsi, Gujarati, Hindi, Japanese, Lithuanian, Malayam, Nepali, Pashto, Polish, Portuguese, Punjabi, Romanian, Russian, Somali, Tagalog, Tamil, Tetum, Tigrinya, Ukranian and Urdu are available here.
Further information in several languages on subjects such as miscarriage, diabetes and genital cutting has been collated by Laura Bridle and is available here.