Registering with a GP practice: understanding your rights

Registering with a GP practice: understanding your rights

GP access is an ongoing issue you tell us about. We want to help you understand your rights when registering with your GP, using NHS guidelines.

Do I need proof of address to register with my GP?

NHS guidelines state that you don't need proof of address, immigration status, ID or an NHS number to register with a GP. However, some GP surgeries ask for supporting documentation. They might have a few reasons to do this:

  • It can help the surgery find your medical records or transfer them from another practice.
  • It confirms that you live in the surgery's practice area if they do not accept patients from outside this area.

If you don't have a permanent address, you can still register using a temporary address or the address of the GP surgery.

Do I need identification to register with my GP?

You do not have to provide an ID when registering with a GP, but it does help. Below is a list of documents that you can use as ID:

  • Passport
  • Birth certificate
  • Biometric residence permit
  • Travel document
  • HC2 certificate
  • ARC card
  • Utility bill

What could stop me from being able to register at my GP?

A GP must explain why they refuse your request to register in writing. The GP has the right to refuse if:

  • The practice isn't currently accepting new patients.
  • The practice only accepts patients living within its practice area.

Find out how to register with a GP surgery

What to do if you're refused the right to register

There could be several reasons a GP may refuse your registration. But they must explain why in writing within 14 days.

If you have problems registering with a GP surgery:

How to make a complaint:

Take a look at our complaints advice guides here.

I want to change my GP practice. Do I have to give a reason?

No, you don't have to tell your practice why you want to change or your new one why you made that decision.

You'll need to fill in a registration form. A request will then be made to your current GP to transfer your medical records to the new GP surgery.

Read more information on registering with a practice further away from your residence.

Registering as a temporary patient

You can register with a GP practice as a temporary patient. You can register as a temporary resident with a GP surgery for up to three months. To register, you must fill out a temporary services form (GMS3) from GP surgeries.

After three months, you must reapply to register as a temporary resident or become a permanent patient.

Find out how to register as a temporary resident with a GP

Accessing GP care as a student

If you become unwell or need other medical treatment when you're at home or not staying near your university GP, you can contact your nearest practice to ask for treatment.

You can receive emergency treatment for 14 days. After that, you will have to register as a temporary resident or permanent patient.

Find out how to see a GP if you’re away from home

You can also visit an NHS urgent treatment centre. You don't need an appointment, and you don't need to be registered.

They can treat minor injuries or illnesses such as cuts, bruises and rashes. They aren't designed for treating long-term conditions or life-threatening problems.

More information

Are you an asylum seeker, refugee, homeless or an overseas visitor, whether lawfully in the UK or not? Find out how to register with a GP surgery.

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