How to Register With a GP as a Student in the UK

Getting the GP registration process started if you’re a student is really important - especially if you’ve just moved away from home. Here, we’ll answer some of your GP-related questions, including eligibility requirements, how to book an appointment and what to do in emergencies.

How does the GP registration process work?

A GP (general practitioner) is your first point of contact for medical treatment in the UK. Residents must register with a Health Centre or GP’s Surgery as it’s where most illnesses can be treated. If necessary, your GP will refer you to specialists or other appropriate services.

The GP registration process is pretty similar for local and international students, however, it may take a little longer to get settled with a GP as an international student. Let’s explore each process in more detail.

GP registration for UK students

First and foremost, anyone in the UK can register with a GP and access NHS services. You don’t need proof of address or immigration status, ID or an NHS number.

If you’ve lived in the UK before, you’ve likely already been registered with a GP. As a student, if you’ve moved away from home, then you may need to re-register with a GP closer to your university.

You can register with a GP by following these two simple steps:

  1. Use the NHS ‘Find a GP’ service to search for a local GP Surgery and Health Centre
  2. Fill out the GP registration online form - it’s usually available on the NHS app or the GP’s website  

A GP Surgery may refuse to register you if they are unable to accept new patients, you live outside of the area, or you’ve been removed from that specific surgery before.

What’s good to know is that you may be able to register permanently for a GP outside of your local area. This is only possible if the GP Surgery accepts registrations from outside their local area.

GP registration for international students

As an international student residing in the UK, you’re allowed to register with a GP Surgery or Health Centre to access NHS healthcare.

The GP registration process is exactly the same as for those who are UK students. The only difference is that you may be required to provide additional documentation to prove that you are a student in the UK, including your passport or immigration documents.

What documents do you need?

Although you don’t need to provide specific documentation when registering with a GP, you may need certain information to complete the registration form, like your passport or biometric residence permit (BRP) number.

Once registered, your GP may request your medical or vaccination records for reference. As an international student, keep this in mind in case you need to bring certain medical documents from home.

Your GP Surgery may also request proof of address just to ensure you live in the surgery’s area (known as their ‘practice boundary’).

How to choose the right GP for you

Making sure you feel comfortable with your GP is a really important part of getting quality healthcare as a student.

If you’re not sure where to register, try talking to residents in your area and seeing who they recommend. Alternatively, you can take a look at reviews of local GP Surgeries and Health Centres online to get a feel for what GP may be right for you.

How to get an appointment

GP appointments may be in-person, over the phone or online.

When booking an appointment, you have a couple of options. You could book online by filling out a form, give them a call to organise an appointment or visit the surgery to make one. Your GP may have a preferred method so make sure to check with them. 

Your GP may request some information about what the appointment is for. This is to help them decide how soon you need to be seen and by what type of medical professional.

You also have the option of downloading the NHS app and creating an online account which will allow you to book appointments via the app or directly on the website.

Emergencies

You may be able to get an emergency appointment by calling your GP, however, this will depend on their out-of-hours availability.

If you aren't able to wait for a GP appointment, call NHS 111 for advice. If you are experiencing a life or limb-threatening emergency, call 999 or visit the A&E (accident and emergency).

FAQs about GP registration as a student in the UK

How to change GP

There may be a couple of reasons why you want to change your GP. You may have moved or just not like your current GP. If you want to change your GP, you can register with a new GP, and your medical records will be transferred. This could take up to 28 days.

How to change NHS address

If your address changes, there may be a risk you miss important communication from the NHS. If you change your address but live in the same area, you may be able to stay at the same GP - check with your GP Surgery. On the other hand, if you’ve moved outside of the area, you will need to register with a new GP.

Can you be registered with two GPs?

No, you can’t be registered with two GPs at the same time. You may be able to register with a temporary GP if you’re working or studying and can’t access your local GP.

 

If you have any other questions or need more information on healthcare services around your uni accommodation, don’t hesitate to contact and chat with our friendly team at iQ Student Accommodation.