Column: GP registration is now more important than ever for Derbyshire residents
Being registered with a GP has many benefits, writes Helen Henderson-Spoors, CEO of Healthwatch Derbyshire, the county’s patienthealth and social care watchdog.
The most important of these benefits at the moment is that GPs can identify those people who are clinically vulnerable to Covid-19 and ensure that they are invited to get a vaccination.
At the start of this year, it was estimated that up to five per cent of the population nationally was not currently registered with a GP for a variety of reasons.
This includes people who are homeless; families in temporary accommodation due to domestic violence, for example; people who have recently moved house; those with transient lifestyles such as living on houseboats; and new arrivals to the UK.
There is a common misconception amongst the public - and some primary care staff - that certain documentation such as photo identification and proof of address is required to be able to register with a GP.
This is not the case and one of our key roles in recent months has therefore been to reinforce nationwide efforts to ensure everyone here in Derbyshire is registered with a GP.
We continue to distribute the ‘My Right to Healthcare’ cards to a wide range of organisations, service providers and charities to ensure the information reaches the right people.
The cards are backed by the NHS England national call centre (0300 311 2233), which is dedicated to resolving any registration problems.
Our immediate concern is obviously to ensure people can easily access the vaccination programme.
Longer term, this will help patients to take control of their own health, reduce inequalities and focus on preventative health through primary care rather than unnecessary access to A&E and critical care services.
Furthermore, I would appeal to anyone who is currently not registered with a GP surgery, for whatever reason, to contact us for further information.
Please visit https://healthwatchderbyshire.co.uk/, call 01773 880786 or contact through Healthwatch Derbyshire’s social media channels.
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