Moving to a new city can feel a little like starting over, especially when it comes to all the important stuff like finding a new doctors surgery and dentist practice. So I thought I'd give you all a helping hand by giving you some information on all the useful bits!
Doctors Surgery, Prescriptions and Pharmacies:
The doctors surgery that I'd recommend registering with in the city is the University Medical Centre. It's a great location, just across the road from us at PCA, located in the centre of University of Plymouth's campus, and it's flexible for students as that's it's main client-base. You can sign up online here and all the other important info here. As you might be aware, prescriptions are only free until you're 18, however, as a student you might be eligible for free prescriptions (income dependant) with a HC2 certificate, which you can find out more about here. When it comes to collecting your prescription in Plymouth, there are plenty of places you'd be able to pick it up, but Boots in Drakes Circus is one of the most accessible. If you're concerned about your sexual health, the Students' Union works with The Eddystone Trust to provide young people with free condoms to keep you safe as part of the C Card scheme.
Please do also make sure you've had your Meningitis ACWY vaccination before or shortly after coming to Plymouth, and keep up to date with flu vaccinations if you require them.
Dentist Practices and Orthodontists:
Dentist practices are different to doctors in that they don't require you to be within a catchment area, so I'd recommend signing up at your most convenient practice, whether that be local to your home or close to PCA, it's whatever works best for you. NHS dentist practices in the city may not always be taking on new patients, but you can search for all of the nearby practices (and orthodontists) on this map to find other local ones if your first choice has a waiting list. That being said, don't feel like you've got to suffer in pain - you can still see an emergency dentist even if you're not registered in the city. As for costs, again these might be covered for you if you're eligible for a HC2.
There are plenty of different opticians across the city, including Vision Express, Specsavers, Boots and independent opticians too. Many of these offer regular deals for students that include free eye examinations or half-price prescriptions, so it's worth shopping around when you're due your next eye test. If you're eligible for the HC2 certificate I mentioned before, this can also cover your opticians appointments and any prescriptions you might require.
Mental Health Services:
Here at PCA, our Student Support services offer help with everything from finance issues to disability, as well as counselling, mindfulness, acupuncture and more. You can find out all about the Student Support team, what they offer and how to book via the Student Portal or email them at email@example.com. The Zone is another support system in the city, offering budgeting, debt and money advice, information and support, mental health support, housing and homelessness help, sexual health and relationships advice, and more. You can find The Zone or North Hill or Union Street. Head Space is a support service for individuals experiencing issues with mental health outside of college hours. Plymouth Domestic Abuse Services provide support for men, women and children who need advice and protection from domestic abuse. They offer a wide range of help including a refuge and one to one support and confidential advice. Harbour are a Plymouth-based substance misuse charity that provides support for those with complex lives. There are lots of other support networks across Plymouth that provide help and advice for a wide range of issues, you can find more on the Student Support section of the portal.
Transport Services - Trains, Buses and Coaches:
If you're trying to work out the easiest (and cheapest) way to travel out of the city, then Plymouth Coach Station (Megabus, Falcon, National Express and Stagecoach) and Plymouth Train Station (GWR, Cross Country Trains, etc.) are your best bets. We're lucky that Plymouth is a city where you can walk pretty much anywhere you'd want to go on a day-to-day basis, but I thought it would be useful for you to know that City Bus has services that can take you further afield. Should you fancy exploring the wider city or taking a local day-trip, I've added a route map below for you.
Taxi Services, Police Stations and Night-Out Safety:
If the buses aren't running, don't fit your schedule or don't go where you want to, you might be considering getting a taxi. The taxis in the city are super affordable and many even have their own apps to make things easier for you. I recommend using Need-A-Cab? (01752 666222) as they have lots in place to ensure the safety of their customers - you can read up on their student information here. There are plenty of other taxi firms in the city too, including Taxi First (01752 222222), so add a few numbers to your phone so that you've got options in case others are fully booked when you need them.
If you're worried about your safety at night in the city, particularly after a night out, then I'd like to reassure you that Plymouth is pretty safe compared to many cities across the UK, but it's important to know where you can find the local emergency services if you should need them. Charles Cross Police Station is right by our Tavistock Place campus too. At the SU, we are always concerned with your safety, which is why we have a small stock of personal alarms should any of you feel more comfortable going out at night with one.
Hopefully that helps you, but that being said, if there's something I've missed off the list that you'd like to know, do get in touch!
Student Union President