NHS GP Registration Explained

Whether you are a student, young adult, immigrant or a person who just moved to a new neighbourhood, you will need to register with a new GP surgery to access the public and free health services. In this guide, we will share all information on how to complete NHS GP registration in the United Kingdom.
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How to register with an NHS GP?

No matter if it is the first time when you are registering with an NHS GP or simply you’ve just moved house, to register with one of the GPs you will need to follow these steps:

  1. Find the GP surgery in your local area - most of the surgeries accept patients who live within close proximity to the general practice. There is a chance you’ll be able to register with the GP outside of the area you live, however it is up to individual GP surgery so check those details directly by calling or emailing them.
  2. Confirm if your chosen GP surgery accepts new patients - some GP practices might not accept the new patients at times if their capacity is limited. Contact your selected surgery and discuss whether they will accept your application.
  3. Fill out the GMS1 form and bring it to your GP surgery or check if they accept online registration. Due to the COVID-19, many surgeries started to enrol in an online system for registration.

Things you don’t need to register to NHS GP

  • Proof of the address
  • Proof of immigration status
  • ID card
  • NHS number

Download NHS GP registration form

Do you have to pay to register for NHS GP surgery?

No, anyone who lives in England can register with an NHS GP surgery free of charge.

What form do I need to complete to register with GP surgery?

To register with your local NHS GP you will be required to fill out the GMS1 form. Your local GP surgery might also ask you to fill out additional forms that are specific to their operations.

What documents and ID do you need to register with an NHS GP?

You do not need proof of ID when registering with an NHS GP. It might be helpful to have one of the following documents:

  • passport
  • birth certificate
  • HC2 certificate
  • rough sleepers' identity badge
  • hostel or accommodation registration or mail forwarding letter

Even though legally you are not required to show a proof of your ID during registration, it might be handy to have one of mentioned document with you whilst you registering with your local GP surgery.

Do my medical records get transferred when I change GP?

All medical records will be transferred to your new GP surgery during the registration process. GP’s use GP2GP to transfer the digital medical records of patients.

When filling out the GMS1 form (also known as the NHS GP registration form), you will be asked about your previous GP details so your new GP surgery can identify you and your records quicker.

Can you be registered with 2 NHS GP surgeries at the same time?

No, you can only be registered with one practice at a time. You might be allowed to sign up with a temporary GP while away for work or study and you can’t access your local GP.

How can I register with an NHS GP for the first time?

To register with your local GP practice you will need to contact the GP surgery that serves your area.

You might be asked to fill out the online form placed on the surgery site or visit the GP practice in person to fill out the GMS1 form.

During the registration, you are not required to have proof of address, immigration status, ID or an NHS number.

After you have completed filling out the form you will be registered with the local GP surgery within approx 2 weeks' time.

How long does it take to register with a GP?

The process of filling out the registration form should take you no longer than 15 minutes, following this you can hand your form to the receptionist at your selected GP surgery or send your online registration.

Once this is done the process of registration can take up to 10-14 days depending on the individual practice policies.

After this time, you should receive a registration confirmation letter to your home address provided within the registration form. If you’ve registered for the first time for the GP surgery you will also see your NHS number at the top of the letter.

If you can’t wait that long to see a GP you should seek alternatives such as:

Can I register with a GP without proof of address?

Yes, you can register without having a proof of fixed address however it might be helpful if you have one of the following:

  1. Rough sleepers’ identity badge
  2. Hostel or Accommodation Registration or forwarding email

If you are homeless, you can also provide a temporary address such as a friend’s address, a day centre or the GP surgery address.

How can I register with a new GP surgery without knowing the current GP?

In case you don’t know or can’t remember which surgery you’ve been signed to, provide your new GP practice with any previously remembered GP details. Based on this information your new practice will be able to search through your history and match your historical medical records.

Can I register with NHS GP surgery without an NI number?

Anyone in England can register with a GP practice. You’ll not be asked about your NI number or employment status during the NHS GP registration.

How can I register with an NHS GP surgery without an ID?

To register with a local GP surgery you do not need to have proof of ID, however having a document such as an ID, Passport or Birth certificate can help and speed up the process.

What is my NHS number?

The NHS number is your patient ID number. The NHS number contains 10 digits.

How can I find out my NHS number?

There are a few ways you can find your NHS number.

  • Use the NHS App - this is a free NHS service. You can access your NHS App through a smartphone device.
  • Contact your GP - call your GP and ask them to provide you with your NHS number. They will ask a range of questions to confirm your identity first and then give you a 10-digit number.
  • Find your NHS Number online - Use the free NHS service to find your number online, similarly to when you’d call your GP, you will be asked a range of questions to prove your identity before information will be provided by email, text message or post.

How to get an NHS number if you don't have one?

To get an NHS number you will need to register with the GP surgery that is serving in your area. Visit our NHS registration guide page to find out more about how to register and what you will need to do so.

Where can I register for an NHS GP?

Many GP surgeries allow two methods to register with them. These include:
Registering in person - you will be required to travel to your local GP surgery and fill out all forms
Registering online - you will be required to fill out the online form placed on your GP surgery website. NHS GP websites and forms are secure and protected, meaning you will not need to worry about your details being leaked.

Can I register for an NHS GP online?

The GP surgery registration process might vary between different GP practices.

Nowadays, more and more GP surgeries accept online registrations. If your GP practice allows online registration you will be asked to fill out the online form placed on their website.

If you are not sure whether your selected NHS GP surgery accepts online registration, contact them by phone, email or check their website for details.

Registering online is a great way to speed up the process as no GP surgery visit will be required.

Can I register with a GP without my NHS number?

Yes, you can register with a GP without your NHS number. If for any reason you don’t know or don’t remember your NHS number, your GP surgery will be able to find you in the system during the registration process. You might be asked to provide information about previous GP surgery you registered with so they can easier identify you.

At the same time, if it is the first time you are registering with NHS GP surgery, you will receive your new NHS number on your registration completion letter that will be delivered to your home address.

How to register with GP as an international student?

As a student, you are eligible for free healthcare if you come to the United Kingdom to pursue a full-time course at the university and if your course lasts longer than 6 months.

When you arrive at your place of study you should register with one of the closest GP surgeries as soon as possible. The NHS doctors are fully trained to provide you with advice and diagnosis to the most common illnesses or refer you further to more specialised NHS medical services.

To register at one of the GP surgeries you should visit their reception during operating hours. For your registration visit you should take with you:

  1. Letter from the institution you will be attending confirming that you are a student
  2. Passport
  3. Additional immigration-related documentation

During the registration process, you will be added to the NHS patient list and receive your NHS number. This will allow you to receive free healthcare in the United Kingdom.

If you are a woman and would prefer to be assigned with a female doctor, it is recommended you specify that during scheduling the appointment.

How to register as a temporary patient with a GP?

To register as a temporary patient with a GP you should contact selected NHS GP surgery. If you are away from home and require treatment for more than 14 days you will be allowed to register as a temporary patient.

Temporary resident status at one of the GP practices will help you to obtain suitable care for up to 3 months. During that time, you will continue to be registered with your usual GP surgery.

How to find out which GP you are registered with

NHS England keeps a list of all patients, including details of which GP practice each patient is registered with. This is the legal duty of the organisation.

To find out which GP surgery you are registered with, you should first find your NHS number.

Once you have your NHS number ready you can contact the 111 number which serves non-urgent queries, non-life threatening injuries as well as provides general advice.

Understanding the GP registration process

During the NHS GP registration process, you might have questions about whether you or someone from your family is eligible for free medical services in the United Kingdom.

At Medicspot, we understand that accessing GP should be easy and effective, providing a high level of service and quick solution to your medical condition.

If you are currently in the process of registering with the new NHS GP but require urgent medical care, our team offers private GP appointments for as little as £49 which allows you to access GP via video consultation from the comfort of your home without affecting your already opened GP registration process with one of the local surgeries.