How do I register with a GP?

Choose the GP surgery that you want to register with and check it covers the area where you live.

You can find a GP near you on NHS Choices.

Registering with a GP surgery

Contact the GP surgery and ask to register with them. They will usually ask you to complete a form called a GMS1 (PDF, 72kb), giving details such as:

  • your name and address
  • your date of birth
  • your NHS number (if you know it)
  • other information, such as the name and address of your previous GP
  • your views on organ donation

Some GP surgeries will also ask to see proof of your identity. For example, they may ask to see:

  • photo identity, such as your passport or driving licence
  • proof of your address, such as a recent council tax bill or utility bill (a gas, electricity, water or phone bill, but not a mobile phone bill)

The GP surgery will send the GMS1 to your local NHS Commissioning Board area team. Your medical records will then be transferred to the new surgery.

Read more about what local area teams, authorities and trusts do.

Temporary registration

If you want to see a GP and are visiting an area for more than 24 hours but less than three months, you can apply to register with a GP surgery as a temporary resident. The application can be made using form GMS3 (PDF, 80kb).

NHS medical cards

The GP surgery may ask you for your NHS medical card or your NHS number. However, you don't need either of these to register with a GP or to get NHS treatment.

When you register with a GP, some CCGs will send you a new NHS medical card. However, not all CCGs issue medical cards and some will only do so on request.

Can I register with a specific GP?

You will be registered with the GP surgery, rather than an individual GP. If you prefer to see a specific GP, the surgery can note this in your records.

However, you may have to:

  • wait longer to see your preferred GP
  • see someone else if your preferred GP is unavailable

Health checks

When you register with a new GP surgery, you'll be invited to make an appointment for a health check within six months.

Health checks are usually done by the practice nurse, who will ask you about your personal and family medical history. They will also ensure that any tests or checks you need are up-to-date, such as measuring your blood pressure or arranging cervical screening.

What if the surgery doesn't accept me?

Sometimes you may not be able to register with a GP surgery. For example, this can be if:

  • you live outside the area that the surgery covers
  • the surgery is not accepting new patients

You will need to register with another GP surgery in your area instead.

A practice cannot refuse you unless it has reasonable grounds for doing so. These must not relate to race, gender, social class, age, religion, sexual orientation, appearance, disability, or a medical condition. It must also give you reasons for its decision in writing.

Read the answers to more questions about NHS services and treatments.

Further information:

Page last reviewed: 15/04/2014

Next review due: 14/04/2016