Healthwatch Manchester recently conducted an investigation through a ‘mystery shopper’ exercise, into the barriers faced registering with a GP practice in Manchester.
- There is significant variation across GP practices in Manchester regarding the indicated requirements for registration by new patients.
- Some of these requirements may exclude certain groups of people from registering as new patients.
- These groups of people include those without proof of address and/or photographic identification who fall into a number of categories including people in transitional accommodation or for whom travel abroad or driving is not possible or feasible.
- From the patient’s perspective it would seem that the simple process of registration with a GP can become problematic and extra support may be required for certain groups of people.
- From the commissioner & providers’ perspective it would seem more likely that patients who are able to register without proof of address and/or identification are less likely to use other services such as A&E; and that an agreed and standardised process of registration across Manchester may address this issue.
- There is no cause for concern regarding the clarity and quality of information provided by frontline GP staff nor with their politeness.