Registering with a GP without a permanent address, Barnet

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Summary of report content

In 2018, Healthwatch Barnet was alerted to difficulties in accessing/registering with GP services in Barnet, especially for people without a permanent address. They tested the registration process in Barnet by contacting the 57 registered GPs in the borough, through a mystery shopper exercise. The mystery shopper called all GP practices over a 4 day period and managed to speak to staff in 54 of them. The caller posed as somebody who was currently, and for the foreseeable future, without a fixed address. Of the 54 GP surgeries spoken to 51 were registering new patients. Those that were not said their list was currently closed but gave no further explanation. When asked if someone could register without the documents, 51 of the surgeries said the caller must have the correct documents. The majority of GPs did not offer a solution to the caller when they said they did not have an address. However, 14 offered some form of advice to the caller. This included information on access to urgent care and walk-in centres. Three practices suggestions to the caller, to assist them with registration, such as temporarily registering or speaking with the practice manager. The findings were shared with Barnet Clinical Commissioning Group who responded to say that they were committed to ensuring that every patient is able to access primary care services. They have said they will reinforce that message by reminding all practices in their area of their obligations with regard to registering patients, regardless of whether they have a permanent home address.

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General details

Report title 
Registering with a GP without a permanent address, Barnet
Local Healthwatch 
Healthwatch Barnet
Date of publication 
Friday, 1 June, 2018
Date evidence capture began 
Thursday, 1 February, 2018
Date evidence capture finished 
Sunday, 4 February, 2018
Type of report 
Key themes 
Booking appointments
Communication between staff and patients
Continuity of care
Health inequalities
Service delivery organisation and staffing
Staff training
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 about conditions and diseases

Types of disabilities 
What type of pregnancy or maternity themes are included in the report 

Details of people who shared their views

Number of people who shared their views 
Age group 
Not known
Not known
Not known
Other population characteristics 
Homeless people
Refugees or asylum seekers
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 
Service manager
Does the information include other people's views? 

Outcomes and impact

Were recommendations made by local Healthwatch in the report? 
Does the information contain a response from a provider? 
Yes action has been taken or promised
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.