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GPs (family doctors) are usually the first point of call for people when they are feeling unwell and are the main way in to most NHS services. GPs see many of their patients frequently throughout their lives and they can come to know them very well. When necessary, they will refer them to other more appropriate services, where the patient will receive the best treatment/care for their individual condition.
Your GP practice (including the practice nurse) can help/advise on many problems including:
- Repeat or new prescriptions
- Vaccinations & immunisations
- Referrals to hospital or other services
- Help with mental health problems
- Blood tests
- Sexual health and contraceptive issues
- Some minor surgery
- Smoking cessation
- Alcohol and drug misuse.
It's important to register your child with a GP as most children will be unwell at some point and being registered with a GP will make seeing a doctor much quicker and more convenient when you need it. Most parents and carers register their children with their own GP practice.
Registering with a GP in Manchester
In the past, different GP Practices have had different rules about how patients can register with them. In Manchester, we have done something about this and have agreed a standard process with all 102 GP practices in the city to make it as simple and straightforward as possible for patients to register:
- Every GP practice works within a local area called a practice boundary.
- A GP practice should accept you as a patient if you live within their practice boundary, are entitled to NHS treatment and their practice list is not closed.
- If you are eligible, but not necessarily entitled to NHS treatment (e.g. an overseas visitor), the practice can still register you as an NHS patient, but they do not have to.
- In order to register, you will be asked to provide proof of identity and proof of activity in the community (e.g. proof of address) - if you're registering your child, you'll just need their birth certificate and/or some evidence that you are their legal guardian.
- If you don't know how long you'll be staying in the area, you can ask to register as a temporary patient.
- If the practice will not register you, they must explain why in a letter of refusal within 14 days.
- If you are ill and need to see a doctor urgently, your local GP practice must provide immediate and necessary treatment whether you're registered with them or not.
- If there's a problem, you can contact:
- NHS England
- Phone: 0300 3112233
- Email: email@example.com
- Post: NHS Commissioning Board, PO Box 16738, Redditch B97 9PT
- If you've tried to register at three practices without success, you can ask to be allocated to a GP practice in your area.
GPs are available 24 hours a day, seven days a week
Many GP practices offer Same Day Access where you'll be able to see or speak to a doctor or nurse on the day that you're ill. Other practices operate an Extended Hours service, making it possible for patients to get an appointment out of normal surgery hours. All Manchester GPs offer an out-of-hours service too. Just call your usual surgery number and if they're closed, your call will be transferred automatically or you'll be given another number to call.
Your rights and responsibilities
You are entitled to certain services and treatments from your GP - ask for the practice's Patient Leaflet for more information. As a patient you also have responsibilities, such as being on time for appointments, calling the surgery if you have to cancel an appointment and treating the practice staff and other patients with courtesy and respect.
Choose care at home if...
- You need to register your child with a local GP practice
- Find your nearest GP practice by visiting NHS choices at www.nhs.uk
- Text GP to 64746 to receive three free text messages with details of your three nearest GP practices
Choose your GP or GP out-of-hours service if...
- You want to register there
- Just go in and ask to register
Call 999 A&E if...
- There are no reasons why you should need to go to A&E for minor illnesses or problems that could be dealt with by a GP
- A&E is for urgent, life-threatening illness and injury
- GPs are available 24 hours a day, seven days a week and can see you or your child even if you're not registered with them