Registration with a GP Practice can be difficult when you are homeless. We’ve produced ‘My Rights to Healthcare Cards’ to help get people registered with a GP practice.
If you go to register with a GP Practice remember that you have a right to register and use all the services in the GP practice:
You do not need a fixed address.
You do not need identification.
Your immigration status does not matter.
Groundswell’s More than a Statistic research revealed that one of the key barriers that people who are homeless face to getting healthcare is registering and making use of a GP practice.
“When you try to register with a doctor and they send you away because you are homeless you just end up stuck… Some of us have got mental health problems, some physical health problems and a lot of the time it might be those problems that have landed us in homelessness to begin with. When these problems aren’t going to get looked at because you don’t have an address then we are just going to be in a vicious cycle.” – Research Participant
Working with the London Homeless Health Programme, Groundswell produced the ‘My Right to Healthcare Card’. So far over 80,000 have been distributed across London to try and spread the word that being denied access to a GP practice is not acceptable. NHS England have committed to distributing these cards on a national scale.
If you have any difficulty registering with a GP practice, you can remind staff that these rules are stated in a document called: Primary Medical Care Policy and Guidance Manual (PGM).
Sometimes GP practices are “full” and can’t take on new patients. If you need treatment immediately then the rules mean that the practice has to provide you with that treatment and continue you to support you for 14 days, even though they won’t be able to register you. What you will then need to do is to check on the NHS choices website which other GP practices you could register with.
‘Right to Healthcare’ Card
The cards are designed to be business card and A6 flyer size. We will be distributing these across London to homelessness services. When we have run out you can download the print files by clicking the link below and they can be printed cheaply by business card printers.
For ease of printing and to ensure Rights to Healthcare cards are of high quality, we recommend our supplier Doodle Graphic Design & Illustration who provide professional, cost effective printing.
This film was created by James Phillips films as Groundswell’s prize for winning the Homeless Link’s ‘Communicating for Change’ award in 2019. The award celebrates the impact communications can have to engage, change behaviour and improve lives.