Are you registered with a GP?
What is a GP?
A GP or general practitioner is a doctor who looks after the health of local people and deals with a wide range of health issues. It is important that ev ery member of your household is registered with a GP practice.
Why register with a local GP?
Once registered, your local GP can help you with many health related issues, including:
- General health advice
- Contraception and maternity services
- Prescriptions and managing long term conditions
- Concerns about your own, or your children’s health
GPs are also able to refer you on to hospital, specialist or community services if you need further tests or treatment.
Many practices also provide additional services; just phone the practice to find out what other services they offer. These could include:
- Minor surgery
- Phlebotomy (blood tests)
- Cervical screening
GPs, practice nurses and other staff can help keep you well or will see you quickly if you are unwell. Many even offer same-day emergency appointments on a first come first serve basis.
How do I register with a GP?
To be able to visit a GP you need to be on the patient list of a GP practice. This is called registering. Everyone has the right to be registered with a GP. It’s usually only possible to register with a GP near where you live. To find a GP to register with, search for 'GP' and enter your postcode on the My Health London website or similarly on www.nhs.uk, or call Primary Care Support England on 0333 014 2884 (option 1) for advice. You can then visit your local GP practice and complete a registration form. A GP practice may ask you for more information so take along some proof of who you are and your current address. A passport or driver’s licence and a bill with your address on it are usually all you need. Once this process is completed, your medical notes will be sent to your new practice.
You are still able to register without these if you genuinely can’t provide any documentation. You can use a temporary address, such as a friend’s house, or day centre if you’re homeless or have trouble providing address information.
Even if you are an overseas visitor, here longer than 24 hours but less than 3 months, you can still register temporarily with a GP. This includes asylum seekers and refugees, overseas visitors, students, people on work visas and those who are homeless.
Immigration status does not affect your right to register with a GP, in fact you won’t even be asked.
Within three months of registering with a new GP you will be sent a new medical card with your NHS number. It will give details of your new GP and NHS Barnet.
When can I see my GP?
Phone your local GP practice or check the My Health London website for details about opening hours.
Can I see a GP in the evenings or at weekends?
If you are registered with a GP practice in Barnet, you can access an appointment with a GP, or other healthcare professional, on weekday evenings, weekends and bank holidays at a primary care access hub.
Urgent and routine appointments, either same day or pre-bookable, are available from 6.30pm to 9.00pm Monday to Friday and 8.00am to 9.00pm weekends and bank holidays. To book an appointment either:
- Contact your GP practice in the usual way and ask for a weekday evening or weekend appointment, or
- Call the primary care access hub directly on 020 3948 6809 (phone line operational at evenings and weekends only).
Do I have to pay?
Most GP services are free. However you may have to pay for non-essential services such as travel vaccinations or reports for insurance companies. Patients do pay for prescriptions, unless they are eligible for support or exemption. The latest information about NHS prescription charges are available on the Help With Health Costs page of the NHS Choices website.
Do doctors speak a language other than English?
Some GPs speak other languages as well as English. An interpreter can be arranged when you go to see a GP and most practices have access to telephone interpreting services.
Is there an interpreting service for deaf patients?
Your GP can arrange for a sign language interpreter for you. Ask at reception for more details.
What do I do when my GP practice is closed?
You can still get health advice when the practice is closed by dialling 111. 111 is a NHS free phone number to call when you need medical help fast, but it’s not an emergency. So if you’re unsure about where to go, dial '111.' They’ll assess you and advise you where you should go to get the best treatment for your condition. The service operates 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year. The service is free.
Can I change my GP?
You have the right to change your GP without giving a reason. You will then have to find a new one to register with as described above.
Making a suggestion, comment or complaint about your GP
If you have a complaint, or want to make your views known about care you have received from your GP or practice staff, you should speak to someone at the practice first. In many cases the problem can be sorted out straight away.
See our Comments and Complaints section for further information.