Student health and welfare is a top priority at Somerville, and the level of pastoral support is high.

Who to contact

There are many people available to support you should you encounter health or other personal difficulties. Many College staff play a part in ensuring student well-being, including the College Doctors (Dr Steel and Dr Sanderson) and the College Nurse. All students have a Personal Tutor with whom they can discuss any problems, both academic and personal. The Academic Registrar, the Senior Tutor, the College Accountant, JCR Welfare Officers and the Somerville Peer Support team can offer advice and practical support. Details will be available when you arrive.

The University Counselling Service, open to all students, is just round the corner from Somerville. Visit its website at The Oxford University Student Union (OUSU) also offers welfare services, and there is a student-run telephone and drop-in listening service called Nightline which operates during term-time. The OUSU website is at

In addition, each student has an annual meeting with the Principal, which is an opportunity to discuss academic and non-academic matters alike. The Dean and the Junior Deans oversee student non-academic discipline and are also available to provide crisis welfare guidance and support. The Junior Deans live in College, and one of them is on call every evening, night and weekend during full term. They provide crisis support to students with problems in areas including, but not limited to, relationships, anxiety, stress, physical ill health, mental health, and worries about academic work.

General medical care

You will be eligible to seek some medical care from the National Health Service (NHS), the State-run service covering all aspects of health. Depending on your residency status, you may not be eligible to access all services provided by the NHS. Information on the NHS is available at If you have health or medical concerns, your first port of call will probably be your General Practitioner, usually known as your GP. GPs are general doctors who deal with most medical matters in the first instance. They often work within a practice, which is an organisation comprising a number of doctors (often up to around 10), and usually other health professionals such as nurses. A practice usually has its own premises, often called a surgery or health centre. Somerville is linked with the Jericho Health Centre, a GP practice very close to the College. We have two College Doctors, Dr Helen Steel and Dr Evelyn Sanderson, who work at that practice. A College Nurse also holds consulting sessions at Somerville. There are also a number of other doctors and health professionals at the Jericho Health Centre, and any of them may see students. The Centre’s website is at The doctors at the Jericho Health Centre may be seen by appointment or without an appointment in an emergency, but please phone first, or they may also be able to visit very ill patients in College. You must register with a GP in Oxford, as a permanent patient and for the duration of your course. If you already have a GP at home, you may remain registered with them as a temporary resident in case you require treatment when you are at home. Most students register with the College Doctor. You will be able to do so at Somerville during freshers’ week or you may visit the practice to register:

Jericho Health Centre
New Radcliffe House
Walton Street
Tel: +44 (0)1865 429993

There are three forms to download and print regarding registration with the College Doctor. Fill these in, and send them in hard copy to the Academic Office at Somerville, to arrive no later than Friday 2nd September 2016. If you choose not to register with the College Doctor, it is a requirement that you inform the Academic Office of the name and contact numbers of the practice with which you are registered so that appropriate action may be taken in an emergency. Absolute confidentiality is observed by doctors except when the student may him or herself give permission for someone else to be consulted or informed, or very rarely if there is a problem that poses serious risk to the student or to others. If your academic work is interrupted at any time by health problems, it is vital that your Personal Tutor and the Senior Tutor be informed.

Immigration Health Surcharge (IHS)

For anyone coming to the UK for more than six months an IHS is paid as part of a Tier 4 and other visa applications, including student dependants. The IHS must be paid even if you have your own private medical insurance and do not intend to use the NHS.

The IHS is £150 for each year or part year over six months of the visa being applied for, plus £75 for part of a year that is less than six months. If a student (or a dependant) is making a visa application in the UK, they will be required to pay the health surcharge even if the period applied for is less than six months. Students who already have a visa will be covered as normal for NHS treatment unless and until they need to make a further visa application.

Full details of how charging (and refunds) are administered are available on the Home Office website (

First aid

Several members and employees of the College are qualified to administer first aid. Please contact the Porters’ Lodge in the first instance to call for assistance. You are requested to report any illness of more than 48 hours’ duration to the Bursary or to the College Nurse.

Dental treatment

The College has agreed limited dental cover with:

David Le Tocq
31 Beaumont Street
Tel: +44 (0)1865 557 507

This agreement will only provide for emergency treatment at a special rate for students, which is on a par with NHS rates. All other dental work provided by Dr Le Tocq will be at the request of individuals, who will be fully liable for all costs at private rates. Students who are already registered with an NHS dentist are therefore urged to retain that registration, and to undergo dental treatment at their home surgery during vacation periods. There is also a Studental dental practice based at Oxford Brookes University which takes NHS patients. Further details can be obtained from the practice’s website at

Hospital treatment

Under current regulations of the National Health Service (NHS), anyone coming to the UK to pursue a full-time course of study of more than six months’ duration will be fully entitled to free NHS hospital treatment in England. This also applies to spouses and children under the age of 16, or 19 if in further education if they are living permanently with you in the UK for the duration of your course. Individual hospitals are responsible for deciding whether a patient is entitled to free treatment or not, in accordance with the relevant regulations. In order to establish entitlement, hospitals can ask you to provide documentation that supports your claim that you are studying in the UK.

Students with disabilities, long-term health conditions and SpLDs

The College and University can provide guidance and support in many areas to enable students with disabilities and long-term health conditions to make the most of their time at the University. If you have a disability or long-term health condition, and would find it helpful to have particular kinds of support or facilities during your time in Oxford, do contact us to talk about this. The Academic Registrar is the Student Disability Co-ordinator at Somerville. You can email her on She is also in close contact with the University’s Disability Advisory Service. Visit the Service’s website at We can best support you if we are aware of your needs well in advance of your arrival in Oxford. Please rest assured that we will treat any information with sensitivity, and that it will be used only to assist in providing you with a positive experience.

Exam arrangements

If you need particular arrangements for exams due to a disability or long-term health condition, please contact us as soon as possible to discuss these. If you have dyslexia, dyspraxia, or another Specific Learning Difficulty (SpLD), you will need a valid Educational Psychologist’s report on your condition in order to apply for exam arrangements such as extra writing time. A report written when you were younger may not be valid to apply for University exam arrangements, so you may need a new psychologist’s assessment. The University’s Disability Advisory Service can help to arrange assessments. If you have another condition which leads to the need for particular exam arrangements, you will need to provide medical documentation of your condition in order to apply for arrangements. If you have not sent Somerville or the Disability Advisory Service relevant documentation in advance of your arrival at Somerville, please bring it with you when you come to College, so that we can put exam arrangements in place for you as quickly as possible.

Cycling safety

Cycling in Oxford is a very good idea as it’s often the fastest way of getting round the city and research has shown that the more people cycle, the safer it becomes. If you’re not used to cycling in traffic there are some important things you need to know to keep yourself safe. The most important thing to remember about cycling is that the laws about riding a bike and drink-cycling are more like the laws for cars than people think.

  • Get the right equipment. The absolute minimums are a mechanically safe bike that fits you, front and rear lights, rear reflector and a good quality lock. Most experienced Oxford cyclists also decide, after a few near misses, to wear a helmet although if you do decide to wear one make sure it is fitted correctly, and something high-visibility and reflective, particularly at night
  • Register your bike. Theft of bicycles is very common in Oxford. A bicycle registration number will increase the chances of your bike being returned if stolen. Cycle registration packs are available in your College and from the University Security Services (tel +44 (0)1865 272944).
  • Improve your urban cycling skills. See details of cycle training at
  • Make sure you are mentally prepared. Never cycle after drinking alcohol as the same rules and limits apply for people in charge of bikes and cars. Read the Highway Code. The laws about how and where you can ride a bike are more like the laws for cars than people think. See for more information.
  • Whilst on your bike ride in a good visible position. At least a car door distance from parked cars, not weaving into gaps as you disappear. Get good eye contact with other road users to be sure that they have seen you. At junctions, either make sure you can get to the front of the traffic and be visible, or remain in your place in the queue in the centre of the lane. Get into the habit of only overtaking on the right hand side. One of the most common causes of accidents is collision with left turning vehicles.
  • If things go wrong. If you are involved in an accident, make sure that you get professional help either at the John Radcliffe Hospital (tel +44 (0)1865 741166) or from the College Nurse or Doctor. To report a stolen bike contact the local Police station (tel 101) and also, if your bike is registered, the University Security Services (tel +44 (0)1865 272944).

There are bicycle racks within the College grounds where you can store your bicycle. You must register your bike at the Somerville Porters’ Lodge. Bicycles should be left, and locked, in bicycle racks and not left in the traffic entrance, or in rooms or common areas.

Personal security

Safety and well-being are taken very seriously at Oxford. Advice on personal and property crime prevention, staying safe on nights out and who to contact in an emergency is available on the Oxford Students website. In particular, you are reminded to:

  • Register personal possessions that have serial numbers such as laptops, mobile phone and cameras on Immobilise, the National Property Register.
  • Put laptops in a locked drawer when they are not being used, even if you just leave the room briefly, particularly if your room is on the ground floor and your desk is near an open window.
  • Back up work on a USB stick which is kept in a separate location, or use a cloud-based storage facility such as DropBox, Microsoft Cloud or iCloud.
  • Consider using a tracking service in case any of your devices are stolen, such as Prey Project.

Security Services can be reached 24 hours a day at 01865 (2)72944 or (2)89999 in an emergency. Incidents can also be reported online on the Security Services website (