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 has produced the ‘My Right to Healthcare Card’ which it will be distributing across London to try and spread the word that being denied access to a GP practice is not acceptable.
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.
If you have any difficulty registering with a GP practice, you can remind staff that these rules are stated in a document called: Patient Registration – Standard Operating Principles for Primary Medical Care (General Practice).
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.