I finally registered with a GP (general practitioner) in England. Boring, but nevertheless important! I’ve never actually registered with a doctor before so I didn’t really know where to start.
Here’s how to get a doctor in England, based on my experiences.
When I applied and paid for my Tier 5 Visa to the UK, I also paid an NHS (National Health Service) fee. While not entirely cheap, this allows me to use the NHS like a regular citizen, but you’ll still need to register with a local GP.
A simple Google search should show you your closest GP. They may have a website where you can register online, but you’ll need to actually go there any way.
One day I stopped in and picked up new patient registration forms: one was for the NHS (asking typical things like address, age, National Insurance number, previous doctors, etc) and one was a questionnaire created by the office to better understand the patient (previous conditions, medications, etc).
With these in hand, I returned to the “surgery.” In Canada, I would say doctor’s office but here it’s a surgery. Even though they don’t perform surgery. Call it that any way.
As expected, they’ll need to see photo ID, proof of address and your Biometric Resident Permit (mine’s a card, but yours may be the old version that’s just a stamp in your passport).
They’ll take your papers and off you go home with a tiny tube to pee in. So that’s exciting. Eventually (over a week later) the office called me that I was accepted. Hurrah! I had to book a time to meet with the nurse for my new patient appointment and bring in that all-important pee-tube. The nurses only work so many days a week, so my appointment wasn’t for another 2 weeks.
Anxiously, I waited. I hate the doctors. It’s a stupid fear but I can’t stand going there. Now I got to wait 2 weeks, soaking in all the anxiety.
The day finally came. I rushed home from work to grab that stupid pee-tube and ran over to the surgery, checking in with the receptionist that I was there for my new patient appointment.
“Oh, we don’t do those here. You have to go to our sister-surgery.”
Cue me running out the door and racing across town to the other surgery where the nurse is based out of. Good to know!
Tip: always ask a lot of questions! Make sure you know exactly where you’re going, when and what you need to bring. The surgery never told me that my appointment was elsewhere, so make sure you check!
I checked in with the other receptionist and ended up waiting a few minutes any way. The nurse called me and did a usual check: height (in cm), weight (in kg), blood pressure and tested my pee for any obvious issues. She asked me about alcohol, smoking, medical history, exercise and medications. She was crazy nice and told me all about her trip to Banff a few years ago.
Within 15 minutes or so, I was out the door and registered with my surgery. I can finally relax!