Accessing Health Services

This section of the website is focused on how you can access health services.

It covers:

  • Registering with a GP

  • Online and other health services

  • What to do in an emergency


Get started below.

Registering with a GP

If you don’t have a GP you need to get one. This doesn’t happen automatically, you need to register for one and if you move somewhere else you are going to have to change the GP surgery you use.

How do I register with a GP?


You have the right to register with any GP but usually people choose one that is closest to them, you should think carefully about this as a key question is, how will I get there?

GP surgeries can only turn down your request to register with them for a few reasons, these are:

  • If they are full and don’t have room for new patients

  • If it’s a practice some way from where you live they may have an area they take patients from and won't register people from somewhere else

Registering with a GP is quite simple, one way is to go in and see them, they will provide you with a form that you can complete to register with the surgery, they can help you with the details, like finding your NHS number for example.

You can also get a form online, but some surgeries may have a slightly different form so be aware of this, it is going to be better to visit the surgery.

You will probably have to fill in a health questionnaire as well, the surgery will provide this to you.


Once I’m registered when should I visit my GP?

Your GP surgery is there to help you when you have persistent symptoms, unexplained pains, minor mental health concerns or sudden changes in your health.

For things like minor grazes, colds, minor headaches and sore throats in most cases you should try and treat these yourself before visiting the GP.


We will now look at how you can get advice on health conditions before you decide to visit a GP.

Using NHS 111


The NHS have a really useful non-emergency phone number and internet service which anyone can all use if they need advice on what to do when they are experiencing health issues.


The service is there for when you need help with an issue, are confused about what is the right thing to do, need help and advice or you are not sure how serious the issue is.

To access NHS 111 you just:


Dial 111 from your phone, it's free.


Visit the 111 website (Link to - where an online service will guide you through your symptoms and then tell you the best course of action.


Visit a Chemist

Most chemists have a pharmacy counter. Pharmacists are qualified healthcare professionals who can offer clinical advice and over the counter medicines for a range of minor illnesses. They can help with things such as tummy trouble, coughs and colds, aches and pains and skin rashes.


What about an Emergency?


We all know to dial 999 or visit an A&E (Accident and Emergency) department in an emergency but what is an emergency?


999 and A&E are there for us when it’s a life-threatening emergency, this can include:


  • Heavy bleeding after an accident

  • Unconsciousness

  • Seizures or fits

  • Breathing difficulties

  • Broken bones


If in doubt it's best to make the call, the 999 operator will be able to give you advice.


You should all try and avoid using the 999 and A&E unless it’s a genuine emergency as non-emergencies make it difficult for staff to respond to other genuine emergencies.


YOU SHOULD ALWAYS HAVE A GP – You should always make sure you are registered with a GP, remember you need to do this and if you move you will need to move to another surgery.

YOU CAN USE NHS 111 FOR ADVICE – This service can give you loads of advice and guidance about health issues, it can be a good place to start if your not sure how serious something is or don’t know what to do.

ONLY USE 999 / A&E IN AN EMERGENCY – 999 and A&E are there for us all when it’s a genuine emergency, if in doubt you should use it but try and make sure you are only using it for genuine reasons.