How to find and register with a GP

There are many GP practices across North Central London. GP practices are usually the first contact if you have a health problem. They can treat many conditions and give health advice. They can also refer you to other NHS services.

Anyone in England can register with a GP surgery. It’s free to register and you do not need proof of address or immigration status, ID or an NHS number.

You can find your nearest GP practice using the NHS website.

We’re here for you

A range of health care professionals work at GP practices or medical centres, including GPs, nurses, healthcare assistants, practice managers, receptionists and other staff. GP practices also work closely with health visitors, midwives, mental health and social care services.

There are three ways to get in touch with your GP practice:

  • Use a convenient, secure, online form
  • Call by phone
  • Visit in person

For more information visit your practice’s website. Please follow Covid-19 safety measures when visiting your practice by wearing a mask, maintaining social distancing and washing your hands before.

Meet our primary care team

Below we explain the roles of different staff that might be working within your GP practice and how they can support you to manage your health and wellbeing.

Receptionists are a vital part of the health and care team as they are often the first person you will speak to. Please give receptionists the information they ask for so they can help you to be directed to the right place or the right way to get the care you need. Their job includes assessing (also known as triage) by asking some simple questions about your concerns are so they know who needs to be seen in person, by phone or video consultation or who might benefit from help at a community pharmacy.

Some of a receptionist’s jobs include:

  • Booking patients in for appointments
  • Entering patients’ details onto IT systems
  • Signposting patients to where they should go next

Practice nurses work in GP practices where they plan, provide care, treatment and health education to patients of all ages. Nurses are an important part of delivering care in general practice, working as part of the health and care team.

Some of a practice nurse’s jobs include:

  • Obtaining blood samples
  • Electrocardiograms 
  • Minor and complex wound management including leg ulcers
  • Travel health advice and vaccinations
  • Child immunisations and advice
  • Family planning and women’s health including cervical smears
  • Men’s health screening
  • Sexual health services
  • Smoking cessation
  • Screening and helping patients to manage long-term conditions.

Practice managers are vital to the successful running of a GP practice. They manage the business aspect of the practice, making sure that patients are at the centre of the practice’s operations.

Some of a practice manager’s jobs includes:

  • Developing and supervising appointment systems that work well for patients and staff
  • Ensuring accurate records are kept and liaising with local health organisations
  • Developing strategies for the practice on issues such as computer systems, security, expanding or changing services and long-term services.

Care navigators are members of the practice reception team who have been trained to help patients get the right care from the right healthcare professional, as soon as possible, by asking for a little more detail from the patient when they book an appointment.

A care navigator’s jobs include:

  • Supporting patients and carers to “navigate” their way around health, social care and community and voluntary services
  • Using their expert knowledge to signpost patients to the appropriate member of the practice health and care team – this might be a pharmacist, healthcare assistant, practice nurse or doctor
  • Helping people play an active role in managing their own health.

Advanced nurse practitioners are highly-trained professionals who can undertake complex reviews of patients, just like GPs. They can assess symptoms and build a picture of a patient’s condition, treat minor health problems, infections, and minor injuries and prescribe medication where necessary.

An advanced nurse practitioner’s experience includes:

  • Educated at Masters Level in clinical practice, having been assessed as competent in practice using their expert clinical knowledge and skills
  • Having the freedom and authority to act, making independent decisions in the assessment, diagnosis and treatment of patients.

Clinical pharmacists are becoming more commonplace in GP practices and are qualified professionals whose specialist skills include reviewing medications for patients and supporting people who have long-term conditions. They can also treat minor illnesses and refer patients onto other services. 

A clinical pharmacists jobs include:

  • Assessing the status of a patient’s health problems and determining whether the prescribed medications are optimally meeting the patient’s needs and goals of care
  • Working directly with patients as part of the primary care team to make sure medicines help patients to get better and stay well
  • Undertaking long-term condition reviews as part of the primary care team.

Healthcare assistants can assist with a range of minor clinical duties, like taking blood samples and blood pressure checks under the guidance of the wider healthcare professional team. They work alongside the team and support with observing, monitoring and recording patients’ conditions to provide joined-up care.

A healthcare assistant’s jobs include:

  • Carrying out health checks
  • Sterilising equipment
  • Processing lab samples
  • Carrying out health promotion or health education work.

Paramedic practitioners or emergency care practitioners are highly trained, degree-level professionals who carry out home visits and give advice over the phone to patients unable to travel to the practice. Patients normally seen by a paramedic practitioner are normally elderly, infirm or nearing end of life.

A paramedic practitioner’s jobs include:

  • Running clinics, assessing patients, managing minor illnesses and providing continuity of care for patients with complex health needs
  • Managing requests for same-day urgent home visits, as well as regular visits to homebound patients with long-term conditions.

Musculoskeletal health issues such as back, muscle and joint pains are the most common cause of repeat GP appointments and account for around one in five of all GP appointments. Most of them can be dealt with effectively by a physiotherapist without any need to see the GP.

Research shows physiotherapists are the most expert professional group regarding musculoskeletal issues with the exception of orthopaedic consultants. Physiotherapists can order diagnostic tests including scans and prescribe medication, whilst some are trained to administer steroid injections.

A physiotherapist’s jobs include:

  • Providing care that can be directly accessed by patients
  • Providing patients with a rapid, accurate diagnosis and health plan.

Patients visit their GPs for a range of different reasons and sometimes these issues can be caused by non-medical matters such as loneliness, anxiety, unemployment, illness or debt.

Social prescribing link workers, also known as a social prescribers, work in partnership with GP practices and can help people to access appropriate support in the community to help them make positive changes to their personal wellbeing. Social prescribing link workers connect people to community groups and other organisations for practical and emotional support and offer a holistic approach to health and wellbeing.

A social prescribing link workers’ jobs include:

  • Giving people time and focus on what matters to the person
  • Supporting community groups to be accessible and sustainable
  • Providing a service that patients can self-refer to.

Physician associates are healthcare professionals who have undertaken post-graduate training and work alongside doctors providing medical care.

A physician associate’s jobs include:

  • Taking medical histories from patients
  • Performing physical examinations
  • Diagnosing illnesses
  • Seeing patients with long-term chronic conditions
  • Performing diagnostic and therapeutic procedures
  • Analysing test results
  • Developing management plans
  • Providing health promotion and disease prevention advice for patients.

The nursing associate is a new role within the primary care nursing team. Nursing associates work with healthcare support workers and registered nurses to deliver care for patients. Nursing associates work across all four fields of nursing: adult, children’s, mental health and learning disability.

A nursing associate’s jobs include:

  • Undertaking clinical tasks including obtaining blood samples and electrocardiograms 
  • Supporting individuals and their families and carers when faced with life-changing diagnoses 
  • Performing and recording clinical observations such as blood pressure, temperature, respirations and pulse.

Health and wellbeing coaches work alongside people to coach and motivate them through multiple sessions, supporting them to self-identify their needs, set goals, and help them to implement their personalised health and care plan.

A health and wellbeing coach’s jobs include:

  • Providing access to self-management education, peer support and social prescribing
  • Focussing on supporting personal choice and positive risk taking.