If you are ill while away from home or if you are not registered with a doctor but need to see one you can receive emergency treatment from the local GP practice for 14 days. After 14 days you will need to register as a temporary or permanent patient.
You can be registered as a temporary patient for up to three months. This will allow you to be on the local practice list and still remain a patient of your permanent GP. After three months you will have to re-register as a temporary patient or permanently register with that practice.
To register as a temporary patient simply contact the local practice you wish to use. Practices do not have to accept you as a temporary patient although they do have an obligation to offer emergency treatment. You cannot register as a temporary patient at a practice in the town or area where you are already registered.
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:
- who has been refused application for inclusion in the practice's list of patients
- who isn't registered with another provider of essential services
- whose application for acceptance as a temporary resident has been rejected.
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.
People who are homeless have particular health needs and often suffer some of the worst outcomes. Sloan Medical Centre are committed to ensuring homeless patients receive the same level of care as those with permanent addresses.
The same rules as above regarding identity and proof of address applies to homeless patients. Homeless patients are entitled to register with a GP using a temporary address, which may be a friend's address or a day centre. The practice address may also be used to register them.
Anyone, regardless of their country of residence, is entitled to receive NHS primary medical services at a GP practice. This means tourists, or those from abroad visiting friends or family in England, should be treated in the same way as a UK resident. It also means GP practices cannot charge for this.