People who are homeless - How to register with a GP

Registering with a doctor

You need to register with a GP as soon as you can, so you can see the GP when you are sick.

What does it cost?

There is no charge to register with a GP in England.Once you are registered, there is also no charge to see your GP. If your GP decides that you need medicine, you will receive a prescription. To get your medicine, take the prescription to any pharmacy. If you have an HC2 certificate, you will not be charged for the medicine. You should show this to the staff at the pharmacy and also tick the correct box on your prescription. 

If you haven’t got an HC2 certificate, you will need to apply for one using the HC1 form with help from a support group, if needed. Application criteria does apply, so if you want more information you can contact Help with Health Costs on 0300 330 1343 or go onto the following website at www.nhsbsa.nhs. uk/1125.aspx If you need to see a GP, but have difficulty speaking or understanding English, tell the staff at the GP surgery. They will be able to arrange an interpreter. You will not be charged for this service.

Do I need ID to register?

You do not have to provide ID when registering with a GP, but it is helpful to do so. It is helpful if you can provide at least one of the documents below when registering with your GP:

  • Passport
  • Birth certificate
  • HC2 certificate
  • Rough sleepers’ identity badge
  • Hostel registration/mail forwarding letter.

Finding a doctor

Before you register, contact the GP practice to explain that you are ’of no fixed abode’ or living or staying temporarily in the vicinity of their practice. You are entitled to register in the area where you are, without ‘proof of address’.

You can register with any GP in your local area as long as they have space for new patients. You can also get help by:

  • Asking friends
  • Asking at the library
  • Asking local organisations such as schools, mosques, temples, and churches
  • Asking a support worker
  • Looking on the NHS Choices website -

Registering with a doctor

Ask to register at the GP reception. Show this leaflet and they will ask you to fill in a registration form. Ask for help with filling in the form if needed and return it to the GP reception.

Help with filling in the form
Local organisations that support homeless people may be able to help you fill in the GMS 1 form or local registration form. If you can’t get help, tell the GP receptionist. Ask them to help you fill in the form so you can register.

  • If you prefer, you can ask to see a female GP (if available). If not, ask the receptionist for a female chaperone.
  • You can expect to be treated politely and with dignity.
  • The GP and staff will expect you to treat them politely.
  • You can ask for help if you feel they don’t understand your needs.
  • You can ask to discuss your health issues and personal details in a quiet and confidential place at the GP surgery.
  • Your details should always be kept confidential and safe by the GP.

Help if you are refused registration

Ask the GP receptionist to write the reason why they cannot register you in the box overleaf. You cannot be refused registration because you are homeless, do not have proof of address, identification or because of your immigration status.

If the GP already has too many patients they can refuse to register you. In this instance they must explain why in writing. If this happens to you, or a helper, you can seek advice on how to access GP services from a local homeless support organisation, day centre or hostel.

You can make a complaint
By email:  (for the attention of the complaints manager in subject line).
By post: NHS England, P.O. Box 16738, Redditch, B97 9PT.
By phone: 0300 311 2233 (Telephone Interpreter Service available).

For further information
You may be able to get help and advice from your local Citizens Advice: or your local Healthwatch: 0300 068 3000

This information can be made available in alternative formats, such as easy read or large print and may be available in alternative languages upon request. Please contact 0300 311 2233 or email

PLEASE DOWNLOAD and read the official NHS leaflet below on how to register with a GP for people who are homeless.