Registering with your GP: Understanding your rights

People have told us they can have problems registering with a GP. This article explains more about your rights and what do to if you are refused the right to register.
Female patient at reception desk

An average patient will see a GP around seven times a year, according to the Royal College of GPs. Yet accessing a GP continues to be a common issue that people talk to us about.

Using NHS guidelines, we have pulled together some answers to help you understand your rights when registering with your GP.

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

Having proof of where you live helps but, NHS guidelines make clear that it is not necessary for you to have a proof of address when registering with a GP. This also applies if you are an asylum seeker, refugee, a homeless patient or an overseas visitor, whether lawfully in the UK or not.

Do I need ID to register with my GP?

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

  • 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 the reason for refusing a patient's request to register in writing. The GP has the right to refuse patients if they meet the following criteria: 

  • 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 is a long way from where you live

More information 

What to do if you are refused the right to register

Ask the GP receptionist to write the reason why they cannot register you. If the GP already has too many patients they can refuse to register you, but this must be explained in writing.

Here are a number of ways that you can make a complaint:

Make a complaint to your GP

By post to: NHS England, P.O. Box 16738, Redditch, B97 9PT

By phone: 0300 311 2233 (Telephone Interpreter Service available)

Contact us

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 decisions.

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

For more information on how to register in practices further away from your residence, closer to your work for example, read more here.

More information

Are you an asylum seeker, refugee, a homeless patient or an overseas visitor, whether lawfully in the UK or not? Download these leaflets and be more aware of your rights to register with your GP.

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