A major new campaign has been launched to encourage people to make sure they are registered with their local GP. The move is aimed at highlighting the benefits of having your name on the surgery’s books and also easing pressure on hospital services.
Fact sheets are being distributed showing how to register. They are also on the Berkshire West Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) website.
Most GP surgeries have teams that provide a wealth of health and social care including specialist nurses, pharmacists, and, in some cases, physiotherapists and Social Prescribers.
Once registered, patients can access urgent care when needed and will also be notified by the surgery when they need vital screening or vaccination checks. Over time, surgery staff get to know their registered patients and this gives them a greater understanding of not just their patients’ health but also general information about their lives and things that may be affecting their health and wellbeing.
Anyone can register for free at GP practices in England, this includes people who are asylum seekers, refugees, homeless people or an overseas visitor. The NHS website, www.nhs.uk, gives details of surgeries close to people’s homes and they can then go on to the surgery website and register online.
Dr Abid Irfan, Chair of the Berkshire West CCG and a GP in Newbury, said:
…it really is very important for people to register with their GP and it’s a very straight forward process. You may be asked for proof of identify like a driving licence, but you should not be refused registration or appointments because you do not have a proof of address or personal identification at hand.
Staff at the surgeries are happy to help anyone having problems completing their forms. And the local Healthwatch organisation in West Berkshire is also able to help.
Mike Fereday, Chair of Healthwatch West Berkshire says:
Access to GP services is vital to all, especially during Covid 19 and you have a right to access health services. It does not require a fixed address, identification and your immigration status does not matter. If you have any issues in West Berks registering with a GP locally please call us your local health champion , on 01635 886 210 or email [email protected]