What is a GP?

A GP is your family doctor. You should register with a GP as soon as you arrive in the UK. This makes it easy to see the doctor if you get sick.

Do I pay to see a GP?

No. You can register and see the doctor for FREE, regardless of your immigration status.

What if I do not speak English?

If you do not speak enough English to understand your doctor, tell the GP receptionist you need an interpreter when you make an appointment. You should not have to use a family member or friend, as your appointment with your doctor should be private and confidential. If you wish, you can ask a friend or family member to come with you to translate.

Who can register with a GP?

Anyone living in the UK can register with a GP. Your immigration status is not important. The NHS makes that clear in their guidance.

How can I register with a GP?

You can find a GP close to where you are living on the NHS choices website.

When you go to register with the GP they may ask you for proof of address or proof of identity. This is not a necessary requirement, as stated in the NHS's own guidelines. If you don’t have these documents explain this to the receptionist and the GP practice should still register you. The practice may ask you to provide a contact address. If you do not have a fixed address you can use the address of a friend, a day centre or the practice’s address if needed.

The GP practice can only refuse to register you if their list is closed or if you live outside of their area. If you are having problems registering with a GP you can call our advice line.

Do I pay for medicine?

The GP may prescribe you medicine. You need to take the prescription to the nearest pharmacy. The cost of each prescription is currently £8.40. If you cannot afford this, you can fill in an HC1 form to get an HC2 certificate which will entitle you to free prescriptions for a year. To request an HC1 certificate go to this website. If you need help filling in a HC1 form contact us for advice and support.

Can I access emergency care?

Yes. If you have had an accident or a sudden serious illness you should go to the Accident and Emergency (A&E) department of your nearest hospital which is FREE for everyone. If it is a life-threatening emergency call 999 and ask for an ambulance. This service is FREE of charge but should only be used in an emergency. Do not use the A&E department for minor or non-urgent medical problems. You should book an appointment with your GP instead.

You can also get medical help for problems that cannot wait by calling the NHS non-emergency number, 111. This number is free to call and the service is available 24 hours a day. You will be asked for some details such as your name and address. If you do not speak English request an interpreter at the beginning of the call or ask a friend or relative to make the call for you to ask for an interpreter.

Can I get hospital care? Will I be charged?

Your GP may refer you to a specialist service at a hospital. Hospital care is FREE for refugees, asylum seekers, victims of trafficking, those with leave to remain and those with visas who have paid the health surcharge. If you are not a refugee or asylum seeker then hospital treatment that is urgent or immediately necessary (including maternity services) should never be withheld because of inability to pay but you may be billed. If you receive a bill from the hospital you should continue to access treatment and can contact us for advice.

What should I do if I’m pregnant?

It is important to see a midwife. You can do this by registering with a GP as soon as you know or think you are pregnant. Once you are registered you need to book an appointment with your GP and tell them you are pregnant and they will refer you to antenatal care at your nearest hospital.

If you would like other support with your pregnancy, please come to our Women’s and Children’s clinic (link) where we can provide further support and advice.

What should I do if I get a hospital bill?

If you are charged for hospital care, it is sensible to get advice about what this means.

If a bill costs more than £500 and has not been paid within two months, hospitals will inform the Home Office. You can contact your local advice service for help or you can call our advice line.