This site is intended for health professionals only

Patient registration: NHS England guidance

Patient registration requirements for GP practices during Covid-19

A letter from NHS England, sent on 27 March, said – 


We would like to clarify the application requirements regarding new patient registrations.

The regulations require that “an application for inclusion in a contractor’s list of patients must be made by delivering to the contractor’s practice premises a medical card or an application signed (in either case) by the applicant or a person authorised by the applicant to sign on the applicant’s behalf”.

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.

Equally, where a practice has online registration options, a supporting signed letter from the patient, posted or emailed to the practice, is acceptable to complete the registration.

Practices must, however, ensure that where online registration solutions are used, all GMS1 fields are collected and relevant information entered into the clinical system during registration. This will ensure Primary Care Support England can process the registration.

Registration of patients, including those with no fixed address, asylum seekers and refugees

Practices should continue to register new patients, including those with no fixed address, asylum seekers and refugees. Practices should agree how they can most effectively connect and support locations that are accommodating people who are homeless. More detailed guidance on registering patients is being developed.

We would like to remind GP practices that the absence of photo identification or a fixed address is not a reason to refuse a patient registration. Homeless patients should be registered either at a c/o address where one is available (eg a shelter/ support service) or the GP practice address.

We can assure practices using the GP practice address as a c/o does not place responsibility on the practice to repatriate correspondence (eg hospital letters). Homeless patients should be encouraged to keep in contact with the practice at regular intervals where they have ongoing health and care (primary and secondary) requirements.


Source: NHS England, Preparedness update letter for general practice: 27 March 2020 [published 27 March]