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Young woman speaking to health professional

Talking to a GP

What is a GP?

A General Practitioner (GP) is a doctor who has extra training to work in the community, dealing with all kinds of health problems. You can speak to a GP about anything to do with your physical or mental health.

How to register at a GP surgery

If you’re 16 or over, you can sign up to a GP surgery without the help of a parent or carer. If you’re under 16, a parent or carer might need to fill out a registration form on your behalf.

Everyone has the right to register with a GP practice of their choice, and you don’t have to sign up to the same GP practice as your family members if you don’t want to.

However, a GP practice may be unable to register you if:

  • They are not taking on new patients
  • You do not live within its practice boundaries

You can find the GP surgeries closest to where you live here.

To register, you might need to fill in a form and provide some proof of your identity and address, such as a passport and a letter addressed to you. GP surgeries can have different registration processes, so call them or visit their reception to find out what information they need from you.

Booking an appointment

You can book your own GP appointment at any age. All surgeries have different systems for booking appointments.

To book an appointment, you’ll need to contact your GP surgery and arrange an appointment. You might be asked about the reason for your appointment, this is just to make sure you receive the right care. You don’t have to tell them if you don’t want to, just say it’s personal.

You can also request to see a male or female GP if you have a preference.

Doctors and all other GP staff are required to keep any information about you confidential, this means that they can’t tell anyone anything relating to your appointments or medical history.

Speaking to a GP

You can visit or speak to a GP at any age, and you don’t always have to bring a parent or carer if you don’t want to. Although if you are under the age of 16, a doctor may need consent from a parent or carer to commence certain treatments such as prescribed medication.

People over the age of 16 can consent to their own treatment, this means that they can make decisions about their own healthcare.

Read more about consenting to treatment here.

A doctor or nurse might ask you if you want a chaperone, this is someone who can sit in the room with you to make you feel more comfortable. You can request a chaperone when you book your appointment too.

GP’s may ask you a range of questions about your problem, this is just so that they can find out more about what you’ve been experiencing and think about how they can help.

You can ask a GP any questions during your appointment as well, if you’re worried that you might forget something, try making a list beforehand.

How to get help

If you have any more questions on this area or would like to speak to somebody about this topic, have a look at the links or search for your local services in the blue box below. Alternatively you can always contact your school nurse.

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Find out what services are available to you in your area. Remember your school nurse is always there to give you confidential help and support.

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