Registering at your GP is important for lots of reasons - GPs provide advice and treatment, including mental health treatment. GPs make sure anything that needs further treatment or investigation is provided. Basically, GPs are responsible for looking after the patients registered with them. You might feel you don't need to register at a GP because you feel fine, but it's vital that you have local medical support should you need it.

Click here to download the NHS's leaflet about registering at a gp when homeless

Find out more about the NHS' Pride in Practice

Did you know?

It is free to register at a GP, and it's free to see your GP. If you're given a prescription from your doctor, and have an HC2 certificate, you will not be charged for the medicine. 

You have the legal right to choose a GP practice that best suits your needs.

The GP practice must accept you, unless there are reasonable grounds to refuse you - these must not relate to race, gender, social class, age, religion, sexual orientation, appearance, disability or a medical condition.

It must also give you reasons for its decision in writing.

A GP practice may refuse to register you because:

  • it has no capacity to take on new patients
  • it may not be accepting patients that do not live within its practice boundary
  • in your particular circumstances, it may not be appropriate for you to register with a practice that's a long way from where you live.

If you prefer, you can ask to see a female GP (if available). If not, ask the receptionist for a female chaperone. You can expect to be treated politely and with dignity. The GP and staff will expect you to treat them politely. You can ask for help if you feel they don’t understand your needs. You can ask to discuss your health issues and personal details in a quiet and confidential place at the GP surgery. Your details should always be kept confidential and safe by the GP.

If you're homeless, contact the GP practice before you register to explain that you are ’of no fixed abode’ or living or staying temporarily in the vicinity of their practice. You are entitled to register in the area where you are, without ‘proof of address’.

How do I register?

1. Find a GP near to you - enter your postcode and you'll see a list of GPs to choose from. Bear in mind that some GP practices only accept patients from a certain map area, called a practice boundary. If you're not sure if you're in the practice boundary, look at their website - they usually have this information in the 'new patients' section. If you're not sure, get in touch with them.

2. If you're eligible to join, you'll usually be asked to fill out a form called a GMS form. You'll also be asked to provide proof of address and proof of identity. If you're unsure about what documents to provide, or need help filling in the forms, get in touch with your akt Caseworker. The practice may also have their own forms they'd like you to fill in.

You should not be refused registration or appointments because you do not have a proof of address or personal identification at hand - it's not considered a reasonable ground to refuse registration. This also applies if you're an asylum seeker, refugee, homeless patient or overseas visitor, whether lawfully in the UK or not.

3. You do not have to provide ID when registering with a GP, but it is helpful to do so. It is helpful if you can provide at least one of these documents when registering with your GP: passport, birth certificate, HC2 certificate, rough sleepers’ identity badge, hostel registration/mail forwarding letter.

4. Due to Covid-19, many GPs are using email to register patients, rather than in-person. The GP's website should have more information.

5. The registration process can take up to a couple of weeks, but it's usually a few days.

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