Registering with a GP Practice

To register permanently with a general medical practice (GP practice) you'll need to fill out an application form.

You can complete your application online, then print and take into the GP practice.

Download an application form (PDF, 1MB) 

Guidance

When you need to register with a new GP practice, these are the steps that you'll need to follow to make sure that your new GP practice has all your medical history and your medical records. If this is your first registration with a GP practice in the UK, medical records from outwith the United Kingdom won't be traced.

Eligibility to use NHS services depends mainly on residence in the UK. You can only register with a GP practice if you're staying in the area for more than 3 months. If you're not, you may still be treated, but as a Temporary Resident.

More about NHS general medical services

Step 1: Find your local GP

Use our National Service Directory to find your nearest GP practice.

These results are for guidance only. Even though a GP practice is highlighted from your post code search, your address may not be served by that GP practice (and you may not be able to register with them).

If you don't have access to the internet, you can contact us for help with finding a GP in your area.

Step 2: Contact the practice

Once you have found your nearest GP practice, telephone or call in person to find out whether they can accept you as a patient.

Step 3: Make an appointment to register

If they can accept you as a patient, they'll ask you to make an appointment to register.

What you'll need to bring with you:

  • proof of identity
  • evidence of your new address

Step 4: Complete and application form

When you attend for your appointment, they'll ask you to complete an 'Application to Register with a General Medical Practice' form. Alternatively, you can complete the application form and bring it with you. 

You'll be required to provide:

  • your name
  • your current and previous address
  • your date of birth
  • full details of the GP practice you were previously registered with

What if the surgery doesn’t accept me?

Sometimes, you may not be able to register with a GP practice, for example, if:

  • you live outside the area that the practice covers
  • the practice isn't accepting new patients

You'll need to register with another GP practice in your area instead.

It's also important to note that you can only register with a GP practice if you're staying in the area for more than 3 months. If you're not, you may still be treated but as a Temporary Resident. For more information on being treated as a Temporary Resident please contact your nearest GP practice.

Medical Cards

A Medical Card can be issued to a patient for the purpose of confirming their registration with a GP practice for primary medical services. Medical Cards are only issued when requested by a patient.

You don't need to hold a medical card to register with a GP practice or receive services from the NHS in Scotland.

The Medical Card contains:

  • your name
  • your address
  • your date of birth
  • the name and address of your GP practice
  • your Community Health Index (CHI) number
  • your unique NHS number

The Medical Card may be required to be presented to confirm a person's registration on a GP's list of patients. If you don't have a Medical Card, you'll still be able to register with a GP practice.

You can only use your Medical Card as:

  • proof of registration with a GP practice to obtain primary medical services
  • part of applying to register with a new GP practice

The Medical Card can't be used as a form of identification or for any use out with the NHS in Scotland.

How do I get a Medical Card?

The NHS NSS Practitioner Services (Medical) office for the NHS Board area that you live in are listed in the Medical Contact Details section of the PSD site.

Entitlement Card

An Entitlement Card is a card which confirms that the patient is entitled to receive free prescriptions in Scotland. Entitlement Cards are designed for use by patients living in Scotland but registered with a GP practice in England.

Entitlement Cards:

  • will be issued on application, free of charge, to patients who live in Scotland but registered with a GP practice in England
  • can be used at Scottish pharmacies as proof that a patient presenting an English prescription form is entitled to have their prescription dispensed free of charge
  • are valid for 5 years

The Entitlement Card must be produced together with the English prescription form every time the holder or the holder’s representative presents a prescription for dispensing at a community pharmacy in Scotland.

The personal details and address on the Entitlement Card must match the information on the prescription. If there's any difference, the Entitlement Card can't be used and the English prescription charge will be payable.

There's no provision for refunds where an Entitlement Card holder has paid the English prescription charge.

Changes in personal circumstances should be notified to NHS NSS Practitioner Services as soon as possible.

Applying for an Entitlement Card

You can get an Entitlement Card application form from your local GP practice. Alternatively, contact Practitioner Services for the relevant area that you live within Scotland.

If you live in the Borders NHS Board area, please contact the Edinburgh Regional Office and clearly mark your envelope 'Entitlement Card Application'.

If you live in Dumfries and Galloway NHS Board area, please contact the Glasgow Regional Office and clearly mark your envelope 'Entitlement Card Application'.

Your local GP practice in England is required to stamp the application form prior to the eligible patient sending it to the relevant address above.

On receipt of the completed application, Practitioner Services will issue an Entitlement Card. There's no charge for an Entitlement Card.

Entitlement Cards are valid for 5 years so you won't have to reapply every year unless the holder is nearing 60. In that case, the Entitlement Card will expire on the patient's 60th birthday.

Using the Entitlement Card outside of Scotland

If you live in Scotland, but registered with a GP practice in England, you'll need to present your prescription for dispensing in Scotland together with your Entitlement Card.

The name and address on the card must match those on the English prescription form (FP10). If a patient presents a prescription for dispensing at a pharmacy in England they'll be required to pay the English charge unless they fall within one of the exemption categories listed in the equivalent English Regulations.

Registering with a GP in Scotland or no longer live in Scotland

If a person named on an Entitlement Card registers with a GP in Scotland, or is no longer ordinarily and legally resident in Scotland, that person or the person's representative must inform Practitioner Services and return the Entitlement Card to Practitioner Services.

If you live within the Borders NHS Board area, send your Entitlement Card back to the Edinburgh Regional Office and clearly mark the envelope 'Entitlement Card'.

If you live within the Dumfries & Galloway NHS Board area, send your Entitlement Card back to the Glasgow Regional Office and clearly mark the envelope 'Entitlement Card'.

Find a GP near you