Choosing or changing your GP

Choosing or changing your GP

If you’ve had the same doctor for years but you move, how should you go about finding the GP right for you?

If you’ve moved house or your regular doctor has moved away or retired, it’s worth taking the time to research your options before you decide who to sign up with.


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  • You can get a list of doctors in your area from public libraries, Citizens’ Advice, your local council or the NHS website. You don’t have to go to the surgery closest to your home, just one within the catchment area that the GP’s surgery has agreed with your area’s Primary Care Trust.
  • Talk to friends and neighbours to see what they think.
  • Find out what services particular surgeries offer – do they have a baby clinic, for instance? Opening hours also vary and may be a factor, and some people have a strong preference for a male or a female doctor.
  • Once you’ve made your choice, and confirmed that you live in the right catchment area for the surgery, go in (with your medical card if you can find it) and ask at the desk for a form.
  • Despite what many people think, you do have the right to change doctor to another surgery in the same area, without having to give a reason for wanting to change. The application process is the same as signing on with your existing surgery.
  • You don’t have to tell your old surgery that you are leaving, but it will help the paperwork to go through smoothly if you do.

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