Choosing a GP
The General Medical Council (GMC) is the body, which holds the official register of all medical doctors working in the UK. One can contact them to see if a particular doctor is on the UK Medical Register, or one can link to the List of Registered Medical Practitioners on the GMC’s website and then search for a doctor by name. The GMC does not, however, usually provide contact details for individual doctors.
There is a publication called The Medical Directory, www.crcpress.com, which contains entries for most, but not all, doctors practising in the UK. Doctors submit their contact details for inclusion in this publication on a voluntary basis. Most large public libraries hold a reference copy of the Medical Directory.
If one is searching for an NHS GP and know the postcode / place / organisation where the GP is working, you can search the NHS choices website. Many GP surgeries also have their own website.
Registering with a new GP practice
Choose the GP surgery that you want to register with and check it covers the area where you live.
When you move to a new practice, take along your NHS medical card. This has details of your current practice and your NHS number on it, which will make it easier for you to register. Your NHS number ensures that your new practice will be sent your medical records quickly.
If you don’t have an NHS card, you can get your NHS number from your current practice. It’s a good idea to write this down along with their name and address. Keep this sort of information safe because you’ll need it whenever you move practices.
When you have found a practice you like, you’ll have to formally register with it as an NHS patient by submitting a registration form to them. The GMS1 form is available in the practice or can be download it from Internet.
The form may request details such as:
- your name and address
- your date of birth
- your NHS number (if you know it)
- other information, such as the name and address of your previous GP.
Some GP surgeries will also ask to see proof of identity, for example:
- photo identity, such as passport or driving licence
- proof of current address, such as a recent utility bill (gas, electricity, water or phone bill, but not a mobile phone bill) or council tax bill.
The GP surgery may ask you for your NHS medical card or your NHS number. However, you don’t need either of these to register with a GP or to get NHS treatment.
When you register with a GP, some PCTs would send you a new NHS medical card. However, not all PCTs issue medical cards and some will only do so on request.
Forms may vary slightly. Usually, PCTs order them for their practices centrally, but some practices use their own version.
When completed and returned the form, your local PCT will transfer your medical records to your new practice and write to you to confirm your registration as a patient with that practice.
Parents or guardians can register a baby at a practice by completing and presenting form FP58, which is issued at the same time as a birth certificate.
Once you’ve registered with your new practice, you should be invited to the surgery for an initial consultation. At this consultation, you will be asked questions about your health and lifestyle.
Ensure that the nurse has done a health check and approved the patient to be taken on GP list for Registration.
Should the Nurse be absent for any reason, no registration will be done that day. Please confirm with Receptionists for any change in the above schedule.
Registration may be done during a stipulated times each morning or only for a few days a week, depending on the number of patients wanting to register. Some surgeries, like inner cities, have a large floating population and they cater for differently compared to rural surgeries.
One could also make appointments to see a doctor or nurse at the practice when one needs treatment for illnesses and other medical conditions. Until PCT approves the registration, only minor illnesses and medication would be given by the surgery.
One would be registered with the GP surgery, rather than an individual GP.
If one prefers to see a specific GP, the surgery can note this in one’s records. However, one may have to:
- wait longer to see your preferred GP
- see someone else if your preferred GP is unavailable
Register the patients if within the catchment area, as evidenced by proof of current address, and the surgery has an ‘open’ list i.e. accepting new patients.
Current GP catchment areas are determined by population density rather than geographical area.
The average list size is about 6,000 patients for a three-doctor practice.
Do register patients allocated by PCT from time to time, even if they are difficult patients. ‘NHS practices are contractually obliged to accept patients in their catchment area’. PCT in some instances may rotate the registration to other surgeries within its area after 3 months.
Don’t register the patient if outside the catchment area. The reason is one of Home Visits, which a GP is contracted to make with PCT. Such visits take time, quiet expensive and not practicable.
Don’t register the patient if the list is ‘Closed’. PCT allows refusal to take more patients when the list is ‘Closed’.
Don’t refuse registration unless there is a reasonable ground for doing so. These must not relate to race, gender, social class, age, religion, sexual orientation, appearance, disability, or a medical condition. If refused, surgery must give reasons for its decision in writing. This could be long drawn process pitching the surgery against the PCT.
2.7.3 Training Guides:
The table 2.7.3a lists various issues and these can be modified to suit present day circumstances.
If one disagrees with the way the GP wants to treat one’s health problem, or unhappy about the service provided by the GP practice, tell them openly. However, if unable to do so or unhappy with the response received, then one may wish to make a complaint. All GP practices have a written complaints procedure. This can be found at the reception or on the practice website. As a first step, speak to the PMgr. One can also complain to the practice in writing or by email. If this doesn’t resolve the problem, or one rather not raises the issue directly with the practice, one can complain to the local primary care trust (PCT).
A GP may be able to remove you from the patient register in some situations, for example, because you move out of the practice area or are physically or verbally abusive to people at the practice. In most cases, the GP must have given you a warning, and provided you with the reasons for your removal from the register.
The GP will inform the Primary Care Trust (PCT) who then notifies you. The removal from the register takes effect from the eighth day after the PCT receives the GP’s notice, or from the date that you are included on another register if this is sooner.
You are entitled to emergency treatment, or the continuation of treatment, which is occurring more than once a week, until you are accepted by another GP.
If you have been violent, or have threatened to be violent, towards your GP or practice staff, and the police have been informed, you can be removed immediately from the GP’s list. You will only be accepted for emergency treatment by the GP, who has removed you, if the GP is satisfied that it is clinically necessary. It is prudent of the PMgr to produce a weekly report on status of Registrations.
The report used as weekly report to the GPs on various areas are attached:
This is self-explanatory and the computer system may generate these now. If not it is useful to have such a control document for the surgery.