In an emergency call 999
If it is less urgent call 111 in England and Scotland or 0845 46 47 in Wales
Register with a GP surgery
- Search online to find a local GP surgery.
- Contact your chosen GP surgery and ask to register if they have vacancies. If the surgery has no vacancies, ask for a list of other surgeries in the area.
- To register at the surgery, you will be asked to fill in a form with your name and address, date of birth, NHS number (if you know it) and other information such as the name and address of your previous GP.
- If you don’t understand the form, ask the receptionist for help.
- Some surgeries may ask you for proof of identity. If so, you will need to take photo ID (passport or driving license) and proof of address such as a recent utility bill (gas, electricity, water or phone bill) or council tax bill.
- If you do not have a permanent address you can register on a temporary basis for up to 3 months.
- You do not need address ID in order to register with a GP. Gypsies and Travellers have the same rights to access healthcare as every other citizen. This letter from the Secretary of State for Health clearly states that being unable to provide ID is not grounds for refusing to register you. You can download and print this letter and take it with you.
Register with an NHS dentist
- Search online to find your nearest NHS dentist.
- You can get free dental treatment (including check-ups) if you:
- are under 18
- are under 19 and in full-time education
- are pregnant
- have given birth in the last twelve months
- Support Allowance or the guarantee credit part of Pension Credit
Also, some people on a low income, including some people getting tax credits, can get free NHS dental treatment or treatment at a reduced cost.
- If you are not eligible for free treatment dental costs depend on what level of treatment you need. Band 1 treatment costs £18.00, band 2 costs £49.00 and band 3 costs £214.00. More information on NHS dental charges can be found here
You may need urgent dental treatment, for example, if you are suffering from a severe toothache that you cannot get rid of with painkillers or you have had a tooth knocked out in an accident.
To see a dentist in an emergency:
- Call your dental surgery and ask to be seen urgently for emergency treatment
- If you are not registered with a dentist call NHS 111 for advice on where to go for treatment
Minor illnesses and injuries can be treated at a walk-in centre. You can also access emergency contraception and advice. You do not need to be registered with a GP to access a walk-in centre.
You can find your nearest walk-in centre by searching visiting the NHS Location Search website.
The pharmacy can give you advice on minor injuries and illness and tell you if you need to see a doctor or not. They are open late and you don’t need an appointment. Some pharmacies in cities and big towns are open 24 hours.
NHS Direct 111
NHS Direct is a 24 hour health helpline. Trained advisors, supported by nurses and paramedics, will ask you about your symptoms. They will get a doctor to call you back if needed or advise you on what treatment you need.
Many cuts and bruises can be treated at home using a basic first aid kit. You can ask your pharmacist for advice about self-care.
Discrimination and making a complaint
Everybody has the right to access healthcare without being discriminated against. You can register at any GP practice you choose and can only be refused if you live outside the practice area or the surgery is full and so unable to register new patients.
There is more information for Gypsies and Travellers about discrimination in access to Healthcare on the Citizens Advice Bureau website.
If you have a complaint about your experience of healthcare services or you feel you have been treated unfairly or discriminated against, talk to your local Healthwatch. Healthwatch are a national organisation who works to make sure patients and carers are listened to when using health and social care services. Healthwatch are able to support you to make an official complaint if you want to. You can find your nearest Healthwatch office, they are usually based at Citizens Advice Bureaus.
If you want to make a complaint it is important to make a note of the experience you have had. Healthwatch have more advice on making a complaint on their website.
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If you need help accessing healthcare call the national helpline 01273 234 777