New arrangements introduced from January 2015 give people greater choice when choosing a GP practice. Patients may approach any GP practice, even if they live outside the practice area, to see if they will be accepted on to the patient list.
GP practices have always had the ability to accept patients who live outside their practice area. Regardless of distance from the practice, the practice would still provide a home visit if clinically necessary.
The new arrangements mean GP practices now have the option to register patients who live outside the practice area but without any obligation to provide home visits.
Out of area registration (with or without home visits) is voluntary for GP practices meaning patients may be refused because they live out of area.
If your application is considered the GP practice will only register you without home visits if it is clinically appropriate and practical in your individual case.
To do this we may:
- Ask you or the practice you are currently registered with questions about your health to help decide whether to register you in this way
- Ask you questions about why it is practical for you to attend this practice (for example, how many days during the week you would normally be able to attend)
If accepted, you will attend the practice and receive the full range of services provided as normal at the surgery. If you have an urgent care need and the surgery cannot help you at home we may ask you to call NHS 111 and they will put you in touch with a local service (this may be a face to face appointment with a local healthcare professional or a home visit where necessary).
We may decide that it is not in your best interests or practical for you to be registered in this way. In these circumstances we may offer you registration with home visits, for example, if you live just outside the practice area or we may not register you and advise you should seek to register (or remain registered) with a more local practice.
If accepted but your health needs change we may review your registration to see if it would be more appropriate for you to be registered with a GP practice closer to your home.
This new arrangement only applies to GP practices and patients who live in England. For further information visit the NHS Choices website (www.nhs.uk).