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 every 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
  • Vaccinations
  • 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?

It’s quick and easy to register with a GP.  It’s usually only possible to register with a GP near where you live. You can find practices near you by using the search on NHS Choices or you can call NHS England on 0300 311 22 33. You could also pop into a practice near your home and ask about becoming a patient.   

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.

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.

The first time you register with a GP practice, you will receive a GP registration letter which will confirm your NHS Number. If, at a later stage, you can't find your NHS Number at home, your GP practice should be able to help you.

If you have any further queries about registering with a GP please contact NHS England on 0300 311 22 33.

What do I do when my GP practice is closed?

You can still get health advice when the practice is closed by dialling 111. NHS 111 is available 24/7 and is free to call from landlines and mobiles. It can help with medical advice, booking appointments, and can even arrange an ambulance if needed.

You can also book an appointment to see a GP, nurse or healthcare assistant in the evenings or on the weekends at any of the four primary care hubs located across Haringey. The hubs are open from 6:30pm - 8:30pm, Monday - Friday and 8:00am - 8:00pm on the weekends and public holidays. Appointments are available for anyone who is registered with any GP practice in Haringey. 

To make an appointment at a hub, you can call your own GP practice during normal business hours or call 0330 053 9499 during the hub opening hours.

If a GP practice refuses to register me, what do I do?

A doctor may refuse to register you if their list is full. A doctor cannot refuse to take you on because of your age, sex, sexual orientation, religion, financial status, disability or medical condition. If you are struggling to find a GP practice or you would like further information, you can contact NHS England on 0300 311 22 33.

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.

Do doctors speak a language other than English?

An interpreter (including a British Sign Language interpreter) can be arranged when you go to see a GP and most practices have access to telephone interpreting services.

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.

Last updated: 17/01/2019