Registering with a GP in Barnet

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Summary of report content

Healthwatch Barnet was alerted to difficulties in accessing/registering with GP services in Barnet, especially for people without a permanent address. Healthwatch Barnet decided to research the registration process in Barnet by contacting the 57 registered GPs in the borough, through a mystery shopper exercise. The research was carried out over the course of four days, in February 2018. Calls were made to 54 GP surgeries. Of the 54 GP surgeries Healthwatch Barnet spoke to, 51 (94%) were registering new patients. Those that were not, said their list was currently closed but gave no further explanation. One surgery said to call again in April, as they had recently merged with another surgery. GPs were asked if it was possible to register without the requested documentation. 51 (94%) of the surgeries said the caller must have the correct documents. The majority of GPs (40, 74%) did not offer a solution to the caller when they said they did not have an address. NHS England operating procedures state that everyone should be able to register with a GP practice. This research shows this may be challenging for people without a permanent address, or access to ID, trying to register with a GP in Barnet. Often proof of address was required to prove that the patient lived within the practice catchment area. Healthwatch Barnet was pleased to receive Barnet CCG’s rapid response and recognition of the issue, following these findings. It was encouraging to see that they have already contacted Barnet GPs to remind them of their obligation to register patients who request to, whether they have proof of address or not. This is particularly important for vulnerable groups, including those who are homeless.

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General details

Report title 
Registering with a GP in Barnet
Local Healthwatch 
Healthwatch Barnet
Date of publication 
Tuesday, 6 February, 2018
Date evidence capture began 
Tuesday, 6 February, 2018
Date evidence capture finished 
Tuesday, 6 February, 2018
Type of report 
Key themes 
Booking appointments
Communication between staff and patients
Service delivery organisation and staffing
Healthwatch reference number 

Methodology and approach

Was the work undertaken at the request of another organisation? 
What type of organisation requested the work 
Primary research method used 
How was the information collected? 
If an Enter and View methodology was applied, was the visit announced or unannounced? 

Details of health and care services included in the report

Primary care services 
GP practice

Details of people who shared their views

Number of people who shared their views 
Not Known
Age group 
Not known
Not known
Not known
Sexual orientation 
Not known
Does the information include public's views? 
Does the information include carer's, friend's or relative's views? 
Does the information include staff's views? 
Types of health and care professionals engaged 
Does the information include other people's views? 
What was the main sentiment of the people who shared their views? 

Outcomes and impact

Were recommendations made by local Healthwatch in the report? 
Does the information contain a response from a provider? 
Is there evidence of impact in the report? 
Is there evidence of impact external to the report? 
What type of impact was determined? 
Implied Impact

Network Impact
Relationships that exist locally, regionally, nationally have benefited from the work undertaken in the report
Implied Impact
Where it is implied that change may occur in the future as a result of Healthwatch work. This can be implied in a provider  response, press release or other source. Implied impact can become tangible impact once change has occurred.
Tangible Impact
There is evidence of change that can be directly attributed to Healthwatch work undertaken in the report.