Registering with the NHS – What you need to know

As a migrant, I can’t quite reiterate how important it is to register with the NHS. If you have children, you need to pay even more attention to this as besides the normal sniffles and coughs that you may want to take your children to the doctor for, there is the question of immunisations.

Different parts of the world may have different mandatory immunisations for children but for the first few, they are more or less the same the world over and it is important that if you are looking to make a life for yourself and your family in the country, you bring their immunisations up-to-date.

To do this, you need to register with the NHS or with a NHS surgery.

I am going to go by my experience here but I would first research the nearest NHS GP Practices near you. There will probably be quite a few if you are in and around London or for smaller towns, there may only be the one.

Call the chosen surgery and ask if there are taking in new patients. Most do unless you’ve chosen one that is very, very popular.

I called 3 surgeries and I chose one mainly because two made me call several times before they actually picked up the phone -I figured that they were probably too busy and didn’t really want to be constantly calling to get an appointment.

The GP Surgery will ask you to come in with your passport – remember this service is for people who are here to make their permanent home in the UK. You will need to fill up a form which is fairly easy to do, whereafter you will be provided with a NHS registration number which will be constant anywhere in the UK. You will be identified by your NHS number for everything health related.

With regards other things NHS related – the medication is free for under 16’s and if you are pregnant and upto a year following that.

Otherswise, you will need to pay a prescription charge of £8.20

Personally it was really easy to register and I have had no problems accessing my local GP for all my family’s health needs. I think it is vital to register as soon as you arrive so you know that should you or any of the family fall ill – you are covered.

I have had to change GP practices quite a bit as we have moved home because of my husband’s job and it has been a simple process each time.

If you want to read more about the NHS and how to register including links to finding your nearest GP Practice, click here

While you’re there you may also want to enter this competition to win an iPad mini, so you can check for the best GP surgery for yourself. Click here to enter.

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