Moving to the UK: Registering with a Doctor (GP)

If you are moving to the UK or have recently moved then at some point you will need to register with a GP. Especially if you have not had either or both your COVID vaccinations.

What services a GP (General Practitioner) / Doctor can offer you in the UK

GP's in the UK offer a wide range of services to cover a huge range of health issues and developments. A GP surgery usually includes a team of GPS and also nurses and admin staff too. They will work closely with other healthcare professionals such as social care services, midwives and mental health services.

They can carry out simple surgical operations, advise on health issues such as addiction, diet and give vaccinations.

I'm not sure what they cannot do , probably anything to do with cosmetic surgery, though I think even then the first place to go is to your doctor!

How do I register with a doctor (GP) in the UK?

First thing you need to do is to find a surgery or list of surgeries in your area. You can only register with a GP that is local to you so there is [probably] no point registering with one until you are in a place where you will be for the foreseeable future.

Though if you are happy to keep travelling back to the surgery where you first register then I'm sure you could do that, if you really wanted to!

To find a GP surgery go to and scroll down to NHS services and then click on the Find a Doctor tab (see below). Then key in your postcode and a list of NHS surgeries will be generated.

Once you have the list of surgeries you can then either see if you can register online or you will need to contact them directly to find out if they are able to take on a new patient. Each surgery will have a capacity so if they are full, call the next one!

Can I register for a GP online?

It depends on the surgery, once you have a list of the surgeries in your area, the NHS page should give you links to their website and then you can go on there and see if it is possible to apply online.

Can I register with a GP before I arrive in the UK?

I do know some people who have done this, so yes but not easily. But since COVID so many services are moving online so it may well be possible. I believe (but I could be wrong) that you need to visit the surgery as part of registration.

If you can register before you get here, I would recommend doing so because getting the NHS number letter will be another document that smooths the way for other formalities like opening a 'High Street' bank account.

To find out it is just a case of contacting surgeries but you will need to have an address in the UK. Something we can help you with at BritBound.

Is it free to register with a doctor surgery in the UK?

Yes, provided the GP is part of the NHS. To make sure you register with an NHS doctor you must use the NHS website to find a surgery.

How long will it take to receive my NHS number?

Once you have registered with a GP surgery you will be issued with an NHS number and this is sent to you in the post. It takes around 4 weeks to get this number.

You will need ID, most likely something with your address on it. You will also need your IHS number if you paid this as part of your visa.

I might sound vague here but the reason is I just do not hear any consistency with what people are being asked for. So probably take along as much as you can (or enquire with them as to what you need).

You can also download the registration form to complete in advance - the form is called GMS1 - click here for the link.

Relocation moving to the UK registering with a GP

No, you should register with a surgery in the postcode area of where you are living. There is no point registering in an area where you are not going to be living.

Also I would wait until you were living at an address where you will be for an extended period otherwise you will need to keep changing the location of your GP!

Does it cost anything to see a doctor in the UK

No, but you will need to pay for any prescriptions. As I write this in December 2021 the cost is £9.35

What services are included with my IHS fee?

You will have access to the same NHS services as a UK resident. Seeing the GP and attending the hospital as an emergency is free. You will still need to pay for some services, such as prescriptions, dental treatment and eye tests.

I am not registered with a GP surgery but need to see a doctor.

In the UK we have something called 'Walk in Clincs' these are clinics where you can just turn up without an appointment to be seen. But beware! Not all clinics come under the NHS umbrella and if you end up at a non-NHS clinic then you had better have a healthy bank balance.

You need to get to the below page - to do this click here

Enter the term "Walk-in Centre" and then your postcode. Then it should list all the Walk IN Centres near your postcode. Alternatively, just Google NHS Walk-In Centres and that will also work!