Below you will find guidance on temporary residents, homeless patients, duty to provide treatment and when practices can decline to register a patient. 

The main principle around patient registration is that anyone can register with a GP free of charge regardless of nationality and residential status.  For further information on the below you can visit the BMA website on patient registration or get in touch with us.

Duty to provide emergency treatment 

Practices have a contractual duty to provide emergency treatment and immediately necessary treatment free of charge for up to 14 days. This applies to any person within their practice area. 

Immediately necessary treatment in relation to people who are visiting England should be viewed as treatment of new and pre-existing conditions that have gotten worse during their stay. This is subject to the GP’s clinical judgement.

Declining a patient registration 

Practices may only decline to register a patient if they have reasonable grounds to do so. This must not be related to their race, gender, social class, age, religion, sexual orientation, appearance, disability or medical condition.

Registering without proof of identity or address & homeless patients 

There is no contractual duty to seek evidence of identity or proof of address. Therefore, practices should not refuse patient registration on the grounds that a patient cannot produce this evidence. 

The same rules apply to homeless patients. Homeless patients are entitled to register with a GP using a temporary address which may be a friend’s address. The practice address can also be used to register them.

Out of area registration and patient choice

GP practices have the choice to register patients who live outside their practice area. Under their contracts GP practices were required to either accept the registration as any other normal patient registration (recognising this may mean undertaking a home visit) or refuse registration on the grounds that the patient lives out of area. See here for more information.