"Registering with the nearest GP"

About: NHS Highland

(as the patient),

I was asked where I lived. Then I was told that I needed to register with a GP which was a further 7 miles distant than my nearest GP. Surely if there are places available for registration (and my daughter goes to school in that village), then why make us travel a additional 7 miles? What has happened to patient choice?

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Responses

Response from Maimie Thompson, Head of Public Relations and Engagement, Chief Executive's Office, NHS Highland

picture of Maimie Thompson

Dear Mandrew9999

I think the information I can provide you with relates to registering with GP Practices in Scotland. And in that regard I hope will be helpful for other PO readers too.

There is a National contract (General Medical Services or GMS), set up in 2004, which specified how GP practices should operate. This included specifying their Practice area, (I.e. the geographic area that they will cover) and was then agreed by the relevant Health Board. The contract gives practices the right to refuse applications to join their list from patients who live out with their practice area. This is at the practices discretion and they can make exceptions but our expreience is that most practices don’t. One reason is that the practices are then required to provide that patient with the full range of GMS services including, if required, a home visit.

This is an ongoing issue for us here in Highland especially in rural areas where patients may wish to register with a practice which is more convenient for them because of work/ school/ shops etc but unfortunately the practices are quite entitled to say No. It can also cause us a problem in areas where practices might have said Yes in the past but now say No because of workload pressures and therefore patients don’t understand why their neighbour is registered with the practice but they can’t.

I am certainly not without sympathy, and sorry you find yourself in this situation, but I hope at least this offers a clear explanation.

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