Do you know... how to find a GP?

You have a legal right to choose a GP practice that best suits your needs.
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1. You can use the NHS website to find GP services near you – all you need is your postcode.

Find a GP

Here you can see the names of the GPs practising at each surgery, the facilities and services provided, the distance from your home and how each surgery is rated by other patients. 

Prior to registering, you will need to confirm with the GP practice that your home address falls within their catchment area and that they are taking new patients.

You can do this by telephoning or sometimes by looking on the surgery’s website. 

Alternatively, you can phone 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. 

2. What is a catchment area?  

To ensure that GP practices do not take on too many patients, each GP practice is assigned a geographical area called a catchment area.

 From time to time, the boundaries of each catchment area may change according to population changes in the area. 

Some GP practices have opted into a scheme where they can accept patients that live outside the catchment area. This gives people more choice about where to register. You must contact the GP practice directly to find out if it has opted into this scheme. 

3. Why can’t I register with the GP I want? 

You may live outside the GP practice’s catchment area. 

The GP practice may already have too many patients, so is not taking on any more.  

A GP must give a reason for refusing you and this must be given to you in writing. Grounds for refusal must not relate to race, gender, social class, age, religion, sexual orientation, appearance, disability or medical condition. 

You can read more about your legal rights in the NHS Choice Framework document available on the GOV.UK web site. 

4. What do I need to register? 

To register with a GP practice, you need to complete a form which can be downloaded from the GP practice’s website or collected from the practice surgery. 

To complete the form, you will need to provide your name and address, date of birth, your NHS Number (if you have one) and the name and address of your previous GP practice (so that your medical records can be transferred). 

The GP practice may ask you for identification (e.g. passport or driving licence) and proof of address documents (e.g. bank statement, utility bill), especially when you register a child in your care. However, failure to provide these documents should not prevent you from registering with the GP practice. 


If you are an asylum seeker, refugee, homeless person, a member of the gypsy, Roma or traveller communities, or overseas visitor (whether lawfully in the UK or not), the following links provide additional guidance on GP practice registration: 

5. When and how should I register as a temporary patient in Southwark?  

If you are visiting Southwark for more than 24 hours but less than 3 months, you can register with a GP practice as a temporary patient. 

Download Application form 

You can also collect a form the GP practice. 

6. Can I change GP practice?  

You have the right to change GP practice if you wish to. Reasons for doing so may include: 

  • moving to a new area 
  • moving out of the GP practice’s catchment area 
  • experiencing problems in your relationship with your current GP practice 
  • being removed from a GP practice patient list 

7. What should I do if my GP practice removes me from their list?

Your GP practice may inform you that you are no longer within their catchment area and will be removed from their list within a fixed timeframe.  

If your relationship with your GP practice has unavoidably broken down, despite attempts to resolve the situation, you may be advised you in writing that you may be removed from their patient list. 

A patient cannot be removed from a GP's list because they have made a complaint. However, the basis of the complaint may mean that the relationship between patient and GP has already broken down. 

Your GP practice also has the right to remove a you immediately if the you have been violent or abusive, or have behaved in a threatening way towards your GP or a member of practice staff and the police have been involved 

Guidance on how to complain about a GP practice can be found here:

GP complaints

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