There are a couple of different ways to register with the NHS.
1. Follow the steps as directed on this website:
Enter your post code to find a list of GPs.
Click on the GP that you are interested in seeing. A box pops up on the right that states if the practice is
currently accepting new patients. Click on “How to Register;” print and complete form GMS1.
2. If you already have a provider in mind, you can access the GMS1 form from the NHS website.
Choose the GP surgery (or GP practice) that you want to register with. Check first that the surgery covers
the area where you live. You can find a surgery near you using the NHS Choices services directory.
Registering with a GP practice
Contact the GP practice and ask to register with them. They will ask you to complete a form called a
GMS1, giving details such as:
your name and address
your date of birth
your NHS number (if you know it)
other information, such as the name and address of your previous GP
Some GP practices will also ask to see proof of your identity, for example:
photo identity, such as your passport or driving licence
proof of your address, such as a recent utility bill (gas, electricity, water or phone bill, but not a
mobile phone bill) or council tax bill
The GP practice will send the GMS1 to the local Primary Care Trust (PCT), who will write to you
confirming that you’re registered with the GP practice. Your medical records will be transferred to the
NHS medical cards
The GP practice may ask you for your NHS medical card or your NHS number. However, you don’t need
either of these to register with a GP or to get NHS treatment.
When you register with a GP, some PCTs will send you a new NHS medical card. However, not all PCTs
issue medical cards and some will only do so on request.
Can I register with a specific GP?
You will be registered with the GP practice, rather than an individual GP.
If you prefer to see a specific GP, the practice can note this in your records. However, you may have to:
wait longer to see your preferred GP or
see someone else if your preferred GP is unavailable
What if the practice doesn’t accept me?
Sometimes, you may not be able to register with a GP practice, for example, if:
you live outside the area that the practice covers
the practice is not accepting new patients
You will need to register with another GP practice in your area instead.
Your local PCT can help
If you have difficulty finding a GP or registering, contact your local primary care trust (PCT). You can
find your PCT:
using NHS Choices' services directory
in the phone book, under Health Services, in the A-Z listing of local businesses and services
*The PCT telephone number in Suffolk is 01473-77-0000
*Under the services of PCT is PALS (Patient Advise and Liaison Service) their toll free number is
*Another reference and telephone number Department of Health Hotline at 02072-10-4850
What if I should need hospital treatment?
Under the current Regulations, anyone who is engaging in employment with an employer who has his
principal place of business in the UK, or who is a self-employed person whose principal place of business
is in the UK is fully exempt from National Health Service (NHS) hospital charges in England. This
exemption applies to your spouse, civil partner and children (under the age of 16 or 19 if in further
education) if they are living with you in the UK on a permanent basis.
Please note that to be exempt from NHS hospital charges on this basis you must be in employment at the
time you receive treatment. If you are here on a work visa but currently unemployed you will be charged
for your treatment, unless you are otherwise exempt from charges.
Also under the current Regulations, anyone employed on a ship or vessel registered in the UK or anyone
working offshore on the UK sector of the Continental shelf would be fully exempt from NHS hospital
charges in England.
In common with those ordinarily resident in the UK, anyone who meets the criteria of ordinary residence
or is exempt from charges for hospital treatment will have to pay statutory NHS charges, e.g.. prescription
charges, unless they also qualify for exemption from these, and will have to go on to waiting lists for
treatment where appropriate.
If I should need hospital treatment what documents will I need?
The Regulations place a responsibility on individual hospitals to determine whether, in accordance with
the Regulations, a patient is liable to be charged for treatment or not. In order to establish entitlement,
hospitals can ask you to provide documentation that supports your claim that you intend to engage in
employment in the UK. It is for you to decide what to supply, however examples of evidence could
if not an EEA* national or Swiss national then must have a valid work permit or;
if EEA national or Switzerland proof of nationality;
proof that employment is based in UK, e.g confirmation from employer, or for self-employed
invoices or receipts;
proof of employment – e.g. recent letter from employer or contract of employment or current
wage slip, for self employed invoices or receipts.
* Nationals from Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Slovakia and Slovenia
will also need to be registered on the workers registration scheme. Nationals from Bulgaria and Romania
must also a valid work permit.
Do I have to pay for emergency treatment if I have an accident?
Regardless of residential status or nationality, emergency treatment given at primary care practices (a GP)
or in Accident and Emergency departments or a Walk-in Centre providing services similar to those of a
hospital Accident and Emergency department is free of charge.
In the case of treatment given in an Accident and Emergency department or Walk-in Centre the
exemption from charges will cease to apply once the patient is formally admitted as an in-patient (this
will include emergency operations and admittance to High Dependency Units) or registered at an
Can I access primary care services?
GPs have a measure of discretion in accepting applications to join their patient lists. It is advisable to
approach a GP practice and apply to register onto its list of NHS patients. The practice may choose to
accept or decline your application. An application may be refused if the practice has reasonable grounds
for doing so. A practice would not be able to refuse your application on the grounds of race, gender,
social class, age, religion, sexual orientation, appearance, disability or medical condition. If you have
difficulty in registering with a GP, you should get in touch with your local primary care trust (PCT).
Am I entitled to help with the costs of non-emergency NHS treatment?
Information about help with health costs is detailed in leaflet HC11 Are you entitled to help with health
costs?, which is available at:
HC11 Help with health costs, on the NHS Business Services Authority website
What if I do not meet one of these exemptions from charges?
If you are not ordinarily resident or exempt under the regulations, charges will apply for any hospital
treatment you receive and cannot be waived. If this is the case you are strongly advised to take out private
healthcare insurance that would cover you for the length of time you are in the UK. There is no facility to
purchase healthcare insurance from the NHS, therefore any necessary insurance must be organised
Please note the above information gives general guidance only and should not be treated as a
complete and authoritative statement of law. In all cases the Regulations place the responsibility of
deciding who is entitled to receive free hospital treatment with the hospital providing treatment.
People Entitled to Full NHS Hospital Treatment free of charge
Anyone who is working in the UK for an employer who is based in the UK or is registered in the
UK as a branch of an overseas employer (this includes self employed people). You must be
actually working, not just looking for work;
Any unpaid worker with a voluntary organisation offering services similar to those of a Health
Authority or Local Authority social services department;
Any full time student on a course of at least 6 months duration, or, if less than 6 months, a course
substantially funded by the UK government;
Anyone who has come to live permanently in the UK. If you make an application for permanent
residence after you get here you are chargeable until your application is approved;
Anyone who has been lawfully living in the UK for twelve months immediately prior to
Refugees and asylum seekers whose applications are still being considered;
Anyone employed on a ship or vessel registered in the UK or working offshore on the UK sector
of the Continental Shelf;
Anyone who receives a UK war disablement pension or war widows pension;
Diplomatic staff working in embassies or Commonwealth High Commissions in the UK;
Members of Her Majesty’s UK armed forces*;
UK Civil Servants working abroad who were recruited in the UK and employed by Her Majesty’s
Anyone recruited in the UK who works abroad for the British Council or the Commonwealth War
Anyone who is working abroad in a job financed in part by the UK Government in agreement
with the Government or a public body of some other country or territory*;
Anyone working abroad for not more than 5 years as long as they have lived legally in the UK for
ten continuous years at some point (including self employed people);
Anyone working in an EEA country member state and contributing compulsory (not voluntary)
UK national insurance contributions (class I or II);
Anyone who is a national of an EEA member state, a refugee or stateless person or their
dependant or survivor living in an EEA member state who is referred to the UK for specified
treatment with an EC form E112 or E123;
Anyone who is referred by their home country authorities for specified treatment in the UK under
the terms of a bilateral agreement;
Anyone who is detained in prison or by the Immigration Authorities in the UK;
Serving NATO personnel, posted in the UK, who are not using their own or UK armed forces
UK state pensioners who have lived lawfully in the UK for 10 continuous years at some point,
who now live for not more than 6 months each year in another EEA member state and not less
than 6 months each year in the UK;
Missionaries working overseas for an organisation principally based in the UK, regardless of
whether they are receiving a wage or salary*;
Those who have been formally identified or suspected as being a victim of human trafficking;
The spouse or civil partner and any dependent children of anyone who is exempt under the above
criteria, if they are living permanently with the exempt person. Coming to visit the exempt person
for a few weeks or months does not give exemption.
* These categories of exemption provide that the spouse/civil partner/dependent children are exempt from
charge in their own right so that the principal exempt family member does not have to be in the UK with
them at the time of their treatment.