What to do if a doctor surgery won’t register you without a fixed address or ID

When the National Health Service was founded in 1948, it was founded on three main principles:

  • that it meet the needs of everyone
  • that it be free at the point of delivery
  • that it be based on clinical need, not ability to pay

All people, including those with no fixed address, have a right to access health services, free of charge and this includes registration at a doctor surgery.

Know your rights

  • A doctors surgery can only refuse to register you if NHS England has agreed that they can close their list to new patients or if they have other reasonable grounds.
  • A doctor surgery cannot refuse to register you because you have no form of identification.
  • A doctor surgery cannot refuse to register you because you do not have a fixed address. If you are unable to provide an address, the doctor surgery can register you by registering its own address as the address of the patient.

We know that in practice, doctors surgeries may not always follow these rules. NHS England have created a GP Access Card which you can show if you are refused registration.

Correct as of February 2021.

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Page last updated: May 4, 2021 @ 1:03 pm

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