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GP practices told to continue registering new patients

GP practices can accept a signed application form via email when registering new patients during the coronavirus (Covid-19) outbreak, NHS England has said.

In a letter to GPs and commissioners last week, NHS England said that practices ‘should continue to register new patients’.

It added that delivery of the signed form can be ‘by any means’, including email or post.

Regulations normally require that a patient registration application or medical card is signed and delivered to the practice premises by the patient or someone authorised to sign on their behalf, NHS England said.

The letter added: ‘We would like to confirm that in the current situation, delivery may be by any means, including by post and digital options. A signed, scanned application or picture of a signed application emailed to the practice is acceptable.’

A supporting letter signed by the patient and posted or emailed to the practice is also ‘acceptable’ for practices that offer online registration, it added.

Practices should also continue to register asylum seekers, refugees and those with no fixed address, including when no photo identification is provided, NHS England said.

They should ‘agree how they can most effectively connect and support’ locations that accommodate people who are homeless, the letter added.

Further guidance on registering these patients is being developed, it said.

It comes as GP-led ‘hot hubs’ are being set up around the country to diagnose and advise Covid-19 patients who are not in hospital.