Q: I would like to change GPs what should I do?
A: Most GP practices take patients from a set geographical area around their practice. The postcode where you live will denote which GP practice or practices you could join. In most areas patients will have a choice of at least two practices.
Each practice has its own registration procedure. Be prepared to fill in a registration form, produce any proof of address that might be requested and possibly attend a welcome consultation with the Practice Nurse.
You do not need to tell your previous surgery why you are leaving.
If you are having difficulty in registering with a GP, contact the Primary Care Support Service.
Primary Care Support Service - Surbiton
187 Ewell Road
Switchboard: 0208 335 1400 Fax: 020 8335 1401
Q: My practice will only register me as a temporary patient – why?
A: It is the discretion of the GP as to who he or she registers as an NHS patient, but the GP must have reasonable non-discriminatory grounds to refuse someone.
A GP practice can register patients as a temporary patient - when they are in the area for more than 24 hours or less than three months, or as a permanent patient - when they are here for more than three months.
Q: I have just moved into the area and do not have any utility bills or bank statements that show my new address – what other documentation can I use?
A: Contact the GP practice and ask what information/proof of identify they would consider to be appropriate.
Q: I want to complain about my practice, who do I contact?
A: If you disagree with the way your GP wants to treat your health problem, or you're unhappy about the service provided by your GP surgery, tell them openly. However, if you feel unable to do so or you're unhappy with the response you receive, as a first step, speak to the practice manager. You may then wish to make a complaint.
All GP surgeries have a complaints procedure. You will find this at the reception or on the practice website. You can contact the practice in writing or by email.
You have the right to:
- have your complaint dealt with efficiently, and properly investigated
- know the outcome of any investigation into your complaint
- take your complaint to the independent Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman if you're not satisfied with the way the NHS has dealt with your complaint
- make a claim for judicial review if you think you've been directly affected by an unlawful act or decision of an NHS body
- receive compensation if you've been harmed.
Q: My GP won’t give me a repeat prescription for a 6 monthly supply any more - why?
A: Commissioning organisations have recommended to GPs that they prescribe in quantities of a maximum of 28 day supply, wherever appropriate, due to the amount of money wasted yearly on prescriptions that go unused.
GPs may, at their discretion, choose to prescribe a longer period of medication. When doing this, consideration should be given to the likelihood of any adverse events which may go unnoticed, or alterations in therapy which could result in wastage.
You may find (according to the medication that you take) a pre-payment certificate is a cost effective option. Someone regularly receiving 4 or more prescription items in 3 months or 14 items in 12 months could save money by purchasing their prescriptions in this way.
Click here to find out more
Q: Do I really have to pay for an insurance report or sick certificate?
A: If you are off sick for up to 6 days you don’t need to produce a sick certificate but you can fill out a self- certificate. However, some employers will not accept self certification and insist on a doctor’s note.
Certificating someone who has been sick for less than 6 days is not part of the essential core GP work and can therefore be issued at a cost. Similarly filling in insurance reports and validating passports is not essential NHS / GP services and may attract a cost. How much is charged is entirely up to the practice to decide.
Q: Why is my practice allowed to use an 0844 telephone number?
A: Following a public consultation on the future use of 0844 numbers in the NHS, the Department announced that it would be prohibiting the use of telephone numbers which charged the patient more than the equivalent cost of calling a geographical number to contact the NHS.
As a result of the consultation, directions were issued which instruct organisations not to use contact telephone numbers which have the effect of the patient paying a premium above the cost of a call to a geographical number.
The difficulty for practices is that they could not have anticipated the specific packages that individual patients may have agreed with their telephone provider (many make little or no charge at all for local calls).
Many practices who adopted the 0844 number did so believing that this would provide a better service for their patients. To change back to a local number again, may mean incurring an additional cost (for cancelling a contract) and would definitely mean investing time and money to advertise new numbers when resources are already scarce.
If your practice has an 0844 number you should let them know how you feel about it by writing either to your Practice Manager or by contacting your practice’s Patient.
Q: Why won’t my practice give me some of my travel vaccinations free of charge?
A: Not all travel vaccinations are available free on the NHS, even if they're recommended for travel to a certain area. As a general rule, the following travel jabs are usually free:
- tetanus, diphtheria and polio booster
- hepatitis A and some combined vaccines, such as combined hepatitis A and B
Your practice may be able to give you travel vaccinations, but it is not part of their core NHS business and it is not a service that they have to provide.
Some vaccinations take time to become effective, so consult your doctor at least two months before you plan to travel for advice and to arrange any vaccinations that you may need.
If your practice do not offer travel vaccines, or are temporarily unable to provide this service, you may be advised to attend a specialist travel clinics.
Click here for information on travel vaccinations
Q: I have been told by my practice that I have been “de- registered”- why would they do that? I haven’t needed to bother them for years
A: This could be for any number of reasons but should never happen without good cause. To find out why you have been removed from your GPs register call the Primary Care Support Service on 0208 335 1400.
Under the terms of their contracts GPs may be required to de-register someone if they are out of the country for more than three months.