Smiling students on a balcony

Health advice

The GP Surgery's top tips about staying healthy while at Royal Holloway

Nobody wants to have to see the doctor, but it pays to be prepared if you do. Here's some quick tips to help you be ready if you need to see one.

  • Register with a GP surgery: Being registered with a GP surgery means a quicker service, as well as better access to your medical records. Register with a surgery as soon as you arrive at the university, either with the NHS GP surgery (Clarence Medical Centre) on-site or with a local GP - don't leave registering until you become unwell.
  • Vaccinations and medications: Get any vaccinations you need before you arrive at Royal Holloway. If you are taking regular medication, including oral contraceptives, you should bring sufficient supplies to last for at least two months.  If you're an international student please also bring full details of all medicines (noting that some medications might not be available in the UK).
  • Make sure you know how to get help: Make yourself aware of the health services offered and the out of hours system.
  • Get a medical / first aid kit for your hall room / home: Buy some standard flu remedies such as paracetamol or Ibuprofen. There are a large number of over the counter remedies available from the pharmacist but by and large these are expensive and have not been shown to be significantly better at relieving symptoms than the cheaper options.
  • Help each other: Get to know your flatmates / housemates and agree to support each other if you are unwell - for example by collecting prescriptions or food supplies for each other.
  • Look after yourself: Getting run down makes you vulnerable to Flu and other illnesses so take care of yourself by eating well, getting enough sleep and keeping alcohol consumption within reasonable limits

The NHS website about student health has more tips about staying healthy while studying at university.

Woman thinking with lots of possible directions

Sexual health, contraception and consent


It's up to you whether you have a sexual relationship at university. If you do, it's very important that you practice safe sex and understand sexual health. Everyone in a sexual relationship should take responsibility for their sexual health. It's important to have regular check-ups - especially if you have had unprotected sex.

Sexual health advice and support (on campus) 

You can book an appointment with a GP for sexual health advice at any time.  Please ask reception or advise within triage that you require an appointment with Dr Wendy Morton or Dr Laura Dickinson for sexual health advice.  They can provide contraceptive advice and guidance, full sexual health history and screening (including HIV testing and counselling, chlamydia and gonorrhoea testing). Certain sexual health illnesses or conditions requiring more specialist treatment will require attendance at the Garden Sexual Health Clinic (see below) but every effort will be made to provide treatment within the practice on campus wherever possible.  

External sexual health services (off campus)

The Garden Sexual Health Clinic at Upton Hospital, Slough offers a full range of sexual health services.  For more information call 01753 635302 or visit their webpage which details all clinic times including walk-in sessions.  

Jays Pharmacy in Egham also offer sexual health services for people under 25.  They provide:

  • Emergency contraception (morning after pill)
  • Gonorrhoea testing kits 
  • Chlamydia testing kits
  • Condom supplies
  • Confidential sexual health advice

All services are free of charge and are available from either: 

  • Jays Pharmacy, High Street, Egham, TW20 9HN; 01784 435588
  • Jays Pharmacy, Pooley Green, Egham, TW20 8SA; 01784 452502


One of the most important things to ensure is that contraception is always used to prevent sexually transmitted infections and unplanned pregnancy. Information on contraception can be found within the GP Surgery and the SU Advice Centre.  Our GPs can fit contraceptive implants, coils and give contraception advice and support, including the oral & injectable contraceptive pill and long acting reversible contraception.  Condoms are widely available from shops and machines in toilets around campus, as well as free of charge from the SU Advice Centre - don't be afraid to ask. 

Sexual consent 

Consent means agreement to participate in any sexual activity, and is required for all sexual activity both in and outside of relationships.  Non-consensual sex is against the law.  If you choose to be sexually active please ensure all relationships are consensual and understand that every person has the right to say no at any time.  Also be aware that many people chose not to engage in sexual activity and you must respect their choice.


Talking therapies

Get help with anxiety, depression, stress and phobias

Talking Therapies Berkshire is a friendly and approachable NHS service that helps people with anxiety, depression, stress and phobias, and have a team of therapists who can help you to overcome life's difficulties and problems and manage them better. 

A range of support is available depending on your needs from online programmes and video courses to counselling either in-person, via video call or by phone. A therapist attends the GP Surgery on campus each week during term time and by arrangement during the vacation period. 

You can refer yourself directly without having to see your GP first. To see Talking Therapies, call 0300 365 2000 and inform them you are from Clarence Medical Centre, Windsor, but would like to be seen at the GP Surgery at Royal Holloway.  Alternatively, call in to the GP Surgery for more information on how to contact them. 

Sick woman in bed sneezing with medicine

Infections and illness

How to spot common infections and what to do about them

University students can be more vulnerable to infections because they live together in close social contact in halls of residence or communal housing. Students often come together from all over the world to live in one place, and so can be exposed to bacteria and viruses they have not come across before.  

We've described some infections that are common amongst students here.


(With thanks to Meningitis Now)

Meningitis and associated septicaemia are rare, but are very serious conditions that you need to be alert to and to take action straight away if you, or anyone else, are showing signs and symptoms.

What is meningitis?

Meningitis is the inflammation of the meninges, which protect and surround the brain and spinal cord.  It is caused by a number of viruses and bacteria.  Whilst it can affect anyone at any time, there are particular risk factors that increase the possibility of meningitis in students - especially those in their first year.

The Men ACWY vaccine

It protects against disease caused by four of the main groups of meningoccal bacteria - A, C, W and Y.  The vaccine is offered to first year university students under the age of 25 - your GP can advise on eligibility.  It is advisable to get this at least two weeks before arrival at university.  Remember, no vaccine will offer complete protection from meningitis so vigilance is vital. 

What are the signs and symptoms?

Knowing the signs and symptoms of meningitis and septicaemia, remaining vigilant and getting medical help quickly can save lives.  

Meningitis symptoms can appear in any order and some may not appear at all.  Early signs of meningitis can include:

  • fever
  • headache
  • vomiting
  • diarrhoea
  • muscle pain
  • stomach cramps
  • fever with cold hands and feet

Each resident in halls will receive a signs and symptoms card in their room welcome pack and all students can pick one up from Student Advisory & Wellbeing in Founder's Building.  You can also download a card from the Meningitis Now website.   The university is proud to hold a Meningitis Aware Recognition Mark.

Colds and flu (influenza)

Outbreaks of flu tend to peak during the autumn and winter. The symptoms are extremely high fever, aches and pains in the joints, headaches, loss of appetite and general weakness necessitating enforced bed rest. Many people think they have flu when they either have a bad cold or a flu-like illness which are characterised by only a low grade fever and the ability to carry on with every day life.  If you catch the flu, the general treatment is plenty of fluids and rest. You can also take painkillers such as paracetemol to help manage the symptoms.

The flu vaccine: We offer registered patients with certain underlying medical conditions (like asthma or diabetes) an influence vaccine in mid to late October. The vaccine protects against the flu virus but doesn't prevent other colds or sore throats and so on. We don't recommend the flu vaccine for otherwise healthy people.

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