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 realise or comply with their responsibilities. If you have been refused registration at a doctor’s surgery because you have no fixed address, download or print this letter by Jeremy Hunt which outlines your rights and show it to the receptionist. If you are still refused, contact the FFT helpline on 01273 234 777. We are open Monday – Friday, 10am – 4:30pm, excluding bank holidays and can advise you on what steps to take next.

You might also want to view the following pages:

Accessing Maternity Advice and Support

Using a Health Help Card


Correct as of January 2018.

Related Advice

If you are pregnant and are experiencing any issues accessing maternity care, find out where you can get advice and support.

Read more

Find out who to speak to if your nerves are bad or if you need support with your mental health.

Read more

Share this page:

Page last updated: Oct 18, 2020 @ 3:25 am

Sign up to our Newsletter

Scroll to Top