Product Owner, Register with a GP Surgery Service, NHS England
A national service aiming to make registration with a local GP quicker and easier for NHS patients is breaking down healthcare barriers.
The online Register with a GP surgery service, managed by NHS England, is improving access to healthcare across all communities by making the process simpler and more convenient for both patients and GP surgeries.
Accessible GP registration platform
The service, launched in 2022, allows patients to go online at any time of day to find and register with a local GP without having to visit the surgery in person. Patients don’t need ID or documentation to register. They can use online translation tools alongside the service, making it more accessible to those whose first language is not English.
Over 750,000 patients have already used the service, which is now offered by one in three GP surgeries nationwide. Patients can register with a GP at their convenience, including outside working hours, through a browser or the NHS App.
People with no fixed abode can access the tool, with no requirement to provide an address. This supports those experiencing homelessness or with no fixed address, such as people living on canal boats.
The technology opens the door to greater GP access, enabling patients to get the prescriptions or referrals they need for more specialised care.
Reaching more people needing care
Latest figures show two-thirds (66%) of patients used the service to switch GPs while 23% were visitors or migrants, including international students. Other submissions included patients registering with a GP for the first time (5%), newborns (4%) and ex-military patients (1%).
Almost half (48%) registered outside GP surgery opening hours, and 1 in 10 accessed the digital service in another language. The technology opens the door to greater GP access, enabling patients to get the prescriptions or referrals they need for more specialised care.
The online service is part of a new NHS England plan to improve access to primary care, which called for 2,000 practices to provide ‘Register with a GP surgery service’ by December 2023 — a figure exceeded earlier this year.
Registration programme with flexible options
A complementary paper form with the same standardised questions as the digital service is also available in GP surgeries offering the service, ensuring registration is also accessible to those who may not wish to use the digital tool.
Patients can access the service using individual GP surgery websites, the NHS website’s ‘Find a GP service’ and the NHS App. They are also encouraged to use their NHS login for verification where possible, but this is not essential.