Your local doctor or GP (general practitioner) provides a wide range of services including:
- advice on health problems
- examinations and treatment
- prescriptions for medicine
- referrals to social services and other health services.
GPs look after the health of people in their local community and deal with a whole range of health problems. They also provide health education, offer advice on smoking and diet, run clinics, give vaccinations and carry out simple surgucal operations. GPs usually work in practices as part of a team, which includes nurses, healthcare assistants, practice managers, receptionists and other staff. Practices also work closely with other healthcare professionals, such as health visitors, midwives, and social services. You would normally see GPs other healthcare professionals at their premises (surgery). Some operate from more than one building. If your GP cannot deal with a problem then you'll usually be referred to a hospital for tests, treatment, or to see a consultant with specialist knowledge.
Finding and registering with a doctor
To register with a GP you need to find a local practice that you can get to easily. Click here to find your nearest GP practice.
Once you have found a local GP, you need to get in touch with the practice and ask to register. If you cannot register with your chosen GP for any reason - for example, if you live too far away, or if they already have enough patients - you will have to choose another GP in your local area.
GP practices should make information about their services easily available to their patients. Most practices have a practice leaflet available, otherwise please ask for one.
From Wednesday 6th April 2016 prescription charges increased by 20 pence to £8.40 for each medicine or appliance dispensed. The cost of the prescription prepayment certificates (PPC) remains unchanged. The three month PPC remains at £29.10 and the cost of the annual PPC will stay at £104.
You can collect a repeat prescription for a friend, or relative, from the GP surgery. You can also take a prescription to the pharmacy to collect someone else's medication for them. They will need to fill in the relevant part of the prescription on their behalf. If you are collecting 'controlled medication' - such as morphine and methadone - for someone else, you are legally required to show the pharmacist proff of your identity. Many pharmacies offer a prescription collection service, which means that they will collect your prescription from your GP surgery for you and have it dispensed and ready for you to collect from the pharmacy at a convenient time. Also, if any of your medication needs to be ordered, the pharmacist can ensure everything is ready for you when you call in. Some also offer a home delivery service, check with your local pharmacy for details.
The NHS Choices website has a large 'About NHS Services' section which answers frequently asked questions about GP surgeries and other health services.