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Durham University

Academic Talent

Living in the UK

Cost of living

The cost of living in the UK varies depending on which area you live in. It is generally less expensive to live in the North than in the South of England. For examples of the cost of everyday items, you may wish to use this useful cost of living calculator. To compare costs in your own currency, you could use an online converter.

Council Tax

When you rent or buy a property in England you have to pay council tax which is used to fund the services provided by your local authority such as the police service, fire service and refuse collection. The amount that you need to pay depends on where you live and the size of your property. Generally, the bigger your property is, the more tax will be charged. The full list of council tax charges is available on a local authority’s website:

It is important that you inform your local authority as soon as you move into your property.

National Insurance

If you don’t have a National Insurance number, you must apply so that your contributions to the UK National Insurance Scheme can be recorded and you can only apply for it once you’re in the UK. If you are moving to the UK, you may have a National Insurance (NI) number printed on the back of your biometric residence permit (BRP). If not, to apply, call +44 (0)800 141 2075. You will then be sent an application form, or invited to attend an interview at the local Jobcentre Plus Office in Newcastle or Middlesbrough. Following this, you will be issued with your National Insurance Number.

Income Tax

Income arising in the United Kingdom is liable to UK income tax by HM Revenue & Customs. The amount you pay depends on how much you earn, and not all income is taxable. Income tax will be automatically deducted from your pay by the University each month. The amount deducted will be indicated on your payslip. Please check the government website for more information. To calculate your net pay after deductions, you could use this online calculator.

Opening a bank account

There are a large number of banks in Durham and opening a bank account is a fairly quick and simple process, providing you have the correct documents. In order to confirm your identity and address, you are likely to need to provide the bank with the following (these must be original documents and not copies):

  • Passport or EU National Identity Card
  • Evidence of your UK address
  • Evidence of your address overseas (e.g. driving licence)
  • A bank statement from your existing providers (no more than three months old)
  • Confirmation of employment at Durham University (e.g. your offer letter).

Registering with a doctor

The National Health Service (NHS) is the publicly-funded healthcare system in the UK. If you are moving to England for more than 6 months, you may be entitled to free NHS treatment (along with your spouse or civil partner and children, if they live with you permanently). Like other UK residents, you will pay some NHS charges (e.g. prescriptions) unless you are exempt. You may need to provide evidence to prove you live permanently in the UK, for example your job contract or tenancy agreement.

It is essential that you register with a local doctor (General Practitioner, GP) when you move to the area. Details of some of the GP practices in the central Durham area can be found below, and to access a fuller list visit the NHS website.

If you wish to register with a practice, please visit the surgery of your choice and talk to the receptionist. The following information is generally required:

  • Full name, including previous names
  • Date and place of birth
  • Previous address
  • New address and postcode
  • Name and address of your previous Doctor
  • NHS number (if you have already registered for NHS services before) - it is not the same as your National Insurance number
  • Identification document (original)

You will also be asked to provide proof of identity and entitlement to NHS care. A copy of your proof of identity and entitlement to NHS care will be stored electronically in your Medical Records on their Computer System.

The following proofs of identity will be accepted (in preferred order):

  • European Health Insurance Card (EHIC)
  • Passport (including a visa for stay in the UK)
  • NHS Medical Card
  • Photo Driving Licence
  • Birth Certificate
  • Marriage Certificate
  • National Insurance Number Card
  • Evidence of benefit entitlement
  • Wage slip with employer details

You must provide your proof within five working days following completion of your registration application

You can also telephone NHS Direct on 111 if you are concerned about your health or require information about local healthcare services. If you need medical treatment urgently, call 999 or go to the nearest Accident and Emergency. In Durham, go to the University Hospital of North Durham, North Road, DH1 5TW.

New patient health check

Every patient registering with a practice will generally have the opportunity of a new patient consultation. The appointment gives you a chance to meet your practice team, have your health checked and bring to light any on-going medical problems or important past medical history, including continuing your medication.

Your appointment may be with your doctor, a practice nurse or the health worker, who will ask you about the following:

  • Your past medical history (important illnesses and operations)
  • On-going medical problems
  • Medication
  • Family history

You will have your blood pressure taken and your urine will be tested. Occasionally other examinations or tests may be done if needed.

The University has a health centre on Green Lane. It is run in partnership with Claypath Medical Centre

University Health Centre
Green Lane
Old Elvet
DH1 3JX Tel: +44 (0)191 386 5081

Claypath Medical Centre
26 Gilesgate
Tel: +44 (0)191 374 6888

For information on your nearest doctor surgery please see below or contact your Relocation Manager, Stina Maynard Tel: +44 (0)191 334 6417

Dentist registration

You can register with a dentist in the same way as you register with a doctor.

City centre dentists include:

Claypath Dental Practice
71 Claypath,
+44 (0)191 386 5375

Local GP and Dental Practices



Bowburn Medical Centre, Bow Street, Bowburn DH6 5AL

+44 (0)191 377 2495

Brandon Lane Surgery, Stackgarth, Brandon DH7 8SL

+44 (0)191 378 2099

Coxhoe Medical Practice, Lansdown Road, Coxhoe DH6 4DH

+44 (0)191 377 0215

Dunelm Medical Practice, Kelvin House, Victor Terrace, Bearpark

+44 (0)191 373 2077

Framwellgate Medical Practice, 50 Front Street, Framwellgate Moor DH1 5BL

+44 (0)191 386 6044

Gilesgate Medical Centre, Sunderland Road, Gilesgate, Durham DH1 2QQ

+44 (0)191 386 4242

Dr Nagi

1. Croft View Surgery, Croft View, Lanchester DH7 0HY

2. Browney House Surgery, Front Street, Langley Park DH7 9YT

+44 (0)1207 521906

+44 (0)191 373 1386

Park House Surgery, Station Road, Lanchester DH7 0PE

+44 (0)1207 520877

Sherburn Medical Centre, Gray Avenue, Sherburn DH6 1JE

+44 (0)191 300 9661

St Margaret's Health Centre, Crossgate, Durham DH1 4DS

+44 (0)191 384 3895

The Claypath & University Medical Group

1. 26 Gilesgate, Durham, DH1 1QW

2. Green Lane, Old Elvet, Durham DH1 3JX

+44 (0)191 374 6888

+44 (0)191 386 5081

The Medical Group

1. Millyard House, Cochrane Terrace, Ushaw Moor DH7 7QH

2. Meadowfield Surgery, Sawmills Lane, Meadowfield DH7 8NH

3. Rutherford House, Rutherford Court, Langley Park DH7 9XD

4. McKenzie House, Newhouse Road, Esh Winning DH7 9LA

+44 (0)191 373 0202

+44 (0)191 378 0651

+44 (0)191 373 1386

+44 (0)191 373 1386



Belmont Dental Practice, Newlands Road, Belmont DH1 1AP (Private)

+44 (0)191 384 9491

Burgess & Hyder Dental Group (NHS and Private)

1. Wellsprings Business Centre, Durham Road West, Bowburn DH6 5AH

2. Dental Health Centre, Station Road, Esh Winning DH7 9HW

+44 (0)191 377 3465

+44 (0)191 373 9052

Durham City Smiles, The Crossgate Centre, Crossgate, Durham DH1 4HF (Private)

+44 (0)191 384 4447

Elvet Dental Practice, 19 Old Elvet, Durham DH1 3HL (NHS and Private)

+44 (0)191 384 8231

Gilesgate Dental Practice, 2A Maynards Road, Gilesgate DH1 1QR (NHS and Private)

+44 (0)191 300 4311

Driving in the UK

Before you can drive a motor vehicle in the UK, you must:

  • be licensed to drive
  • have valid car insurance cover
  • have paid UK road tax on your vehicle
  • register the car if you are in the UK for six months or more.

For information on whether your licence is valid in the UK, visit the UK government website. The Highway Code is essential reading and contains full details of all UK driving regulations.

TV Licence

If you watch or record TV as it is being broadcast (including on computers and mobile devices), you must buy a TV licence. For details on how to pay, visit the TV licensing website.

Telephone, internet, digital TV and mobile phones

You may wish to consider the following service providers:

  • Carphone Warehouse (mobile)
  • Virgin Media (mobile, internet, digital TV, telephone)
  • EE (mobile, internet)
  • O2 (mobile, internet)
  • Vodafone (mobile, internet)
  • BT (mobile, internet, digital TV, telephone)
  • Three (mobile, internet)
  • Plusnet (mobile, internet, digital TV)
  • TalkTalk (mobile, internet, digital TV)

For details on how to use your current mobile phone in the UK, please contact your current provider.

To compare deals, you may want to visit a website such as Money Supermarket or Go Compare. It may take up to two weeks until your telephone line and Internet connection is ready for you to use.


For detailed information about the weather in North East England, visit the Met Office website.

Professor Alan Houston, Pro Vice-Chancellor (Education)

Contact us

Durham University
Human Resources
Rowan House
Mountjoy Centre
Stockton Road
Durham DH1 3LE
T: +44 (0) 191 334 6536