General health services

GP practices are the first point of contact with the NHS for most patients. A GP practice is a team of health professionals led by doctors called GPs, who look after the physical, mental and social aspects of your health.

Registering with a GP practice will allow you to access a wide range of services, including:

  • consultations and advice about your health
  • prescriptions for medicines
  • tests to diagnose what is wrong with you
  • a referral to a specialist service
  • monitoring and care for any long-term health problems
  • screening, vaccinations and advice to help prevent health problems or diagnosing them as early as possible

If you have a learning disability, you can ask to be put on your GP’s learning disability register. From age 14, you can have an annual health check with your GP.

How does it work?

You may need to consider changing GP if you move home, for example if you move out from your parents’ or carers’ home when you become an adult. To register for a new GP, you should find a practice in your local area and contact them to ask permission to join. They will usually ask for details such as your name and address, date of birth, NHS number (if you know it) and other information, such as the name and address of your previous GP.

If you have a disability, the GP practice must make it as easy for you to use health services as it is for people who are not disabled. This is called making reasonable adjustments. These could be things like:

  • making sure there is wheelchair access
  • providing easy read appointment letters
  • giving you a priority appointment if you find it difficult waiting in your GP surgery or hospital
  • longer appointments if you need more time with a doctor or nurse to make sure you understand the information you are given.

Who is involved?

At the GP practice, you may see a variety of health professionals depending on the medical problem. These include a GP, a practice nurse, an advanced nurse practitioner, a healthcare assistant or a clinical pharmacist.

The role of parents and carers

Parents and carers can support you by making sure you are registered with a GP practice. They can support you with filling forms if you need to transfer to a different practice. They may also support you by attending appointments with you if you wish.