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 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. Call Primary Care Support England on 0333 014 2884 (option 1) for advice, or pop into a practice near your home and ask about becoming a patient. You can also visit for more information.

It’s usually only possible to register with a GP near where you live. 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.

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 Islington.

Do doctors speak a language other than English?

Some GPs speak other languages as well as English (see the GP list in the booklet for further information). An interpreter can be arranged when you go to see a GP and most practices have access to telephone interpreting services.

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.

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

A doctor may refuse to register you if their list is full. If this is the case they should display a poster explaining their list is temporarily full. A doctor cannot refuse to take you on because of your age, sex, sexual orientation, religion, financial status, disability or medical condition. 

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.

Access for deaf patients

Sign Language interpreting
Your GP can arrange for a British Sign Language (BSL) interpreter, or you can contact the service directly:
BSL Interpreting Service
Islington Town Hall
Upper Street
N1 2UD

Telephone: 020 7527 3962, Fax: 020 7527 3275,
Mobile / SMS: 07816 820 795 (text message only),
Textphone: 020 7527 6067

Most practices will also arrange for deaf patients to communicate with them by either fax or email and some have textphones; you can also use Typetalk email

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.