CHOOSING A GP Choosing a GP can seem a daunting task, especially if you have just moved into an area and don't know anything about the local health services. But there are some easy ways to find the doctor to suit you. It's important to be registered with a doctor because you'll need them to refer you for specialist hospital and community treatment services. A surgery may refuse an application to join its list of patients if: You don't reside in the surgery area. It has formally closed its list of patients, eg when a practice has more patients than it can deal with or not enough doctors - this is less common than it used to be. If your application is refused, the surgery must write to you and give the reasons for this.
How do I find a surgery? Most surgeries operate a fairly strict catchment area system, and only those who live within the area may be able to register. This isn't to be awkward, but ensures a GP can visit a person at home in an emergency in reasonable time.
How do I register? This is straightforward and far easier than most people realise. Simply take your NHS medical card along to your chosen surgery. You will then be asked to sign a registration form. Not all NHS trusts issue medical cards. If you don't have one, the receptionist will give you form GMS1 to fill in. Once you've completed and returned the forms, your local NHS will transfer your medical records to your new surgery and write to you to confirm your registration as a patient with the surgery. Many surgeries ask a new patient to attend a ‘registration medical’ that checks your general health.
What if I can’t get an appointment? If you can't get a doctor's appointment or have a non-urgent health problem or query, you can contact a nurse by ringing 111 at any time.
What if I have a complaint or concern about my GP or Practice? First raise it with the staff member concerned or the Practice Manager. It may just be an issue of poor communication. Ask at your practice for a copy of their Complaints process to follow. If you are not happy with how they respond to your concerns then you can write to NHS England and they will allocate someone to look into your complaint. Write to: NHS England PO Box 16738, Redditch, B97 9PT. Tel: 0300 311 22 33 Email: email@example.com If you want to help improve services in your GP practice you can join a Patient Participation Group. Ask at the practice for details of how to join yours.
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