Finding a Medical Practice

Details of local medical practices can be obtained by contacting NHS Direct on 0845 46 47 in Wales or England or NHS 24 on 08454 24 24 24 in Scotland. There is currently no comparable NHS helpline for Northern Ireland, but as in other UK countries, your local branch of the Citizens Advice Bureau, listed in the telephone directory, should be able to help.

If you already know of a suitable surgery, you can contact them directly and ask if they would accept you as an NHS patient.

Although patients are able to choose their local surgery, most practices operate a 'catchment area' system. This means that they will only accept applications from someone living within a certain distance of the surgery. Additionally, some practices may not be able to accept your request because their patient list is full. If you find that you are having difficulty finding a surgery that will accept you, you can get in touch with your local Primary Care Trust (PCT), also listed in the telephone directory, which should be able to find you a suitable surgery.

If your application to a particular surgery is rejected, you are entitled to be given a reason for the decision. It is illegal for a practice to discriminate on the basis of race, gender, religion, age or a particular medical condition. If you consider that you have been treated unfairly, or discriminated against, contact your local Citizens Advice Bureau for assistance.