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Are GP surgeries like school catchment areas all over the country?

(27 Posts)
Rafanderpants Sat 26-Jul-14 17:27:48

Or is it just where we live?

I want to change surgery as im extrememly dissatisfied with our local one, weve been constantly let down and their bedside manner leaves a lot to be desired but I was told I cant as we have to stay where our postcode is.

There are a few practices around but only this one in our postcode.

does anyone else have this problem?

RafaIsTheKingOfClay Sat 26-Jul-14 17:36:03

I didn't think they were allowed to do that any more. I know it used to be the case but, I thought that they were now required to take anyone who wanted to register.

I think it had something to do with being allowed to register with a GP near work, rather than near where you live.

MaudantWit Sat 26-Jul-14 17:42:31

That's interesting. I thought surgeries did have "catchment areas" - ours still displays a map of surrounding streets - although, around here, those catchment areas sometimes overlap. This advice on the NHS website seems to imply that surgeries can refuse to register people living outside the area.

Kundry Sat 26-Jul-14 17:44:20

Yes they all have catchment areas. Most postcodes will be in more than one catchment but if you are very rural, for example, they may be only one.

PourquoiTuGachesTaVie Sat 26-Jul-14 17:45:19

You need to live within a certain distance in order to qualify for home visits but afaik you should be able to register with a GP outside of this distance as long as you are aware of this and are ok with it.

weegiemum Sat 26-Jul-14 17:46:50

In Scotland you can join a practice not in your "practice area", but they don't have to take you, mainly to stop lists that are way too big for a good service.

If you can't get a local GP, your local health board can allocate one.

But I'm not sure how it works in England/elsewhere in uk.

SiennaBlake Sat 26-Jul-14 17:48:03

I thought they had catchment areas too. The last three doctors I've used all did and the one prior to that told me that I'd have to find a new doctors when I moved out of their catchment.

Slubberdegullion Sat 26-Jul-14 17:48:17

It's because of home visits.

The BMA have a rough guide that patients should not live more than a 15 min drive from the surgery, although that is at the discretion of the practice.

Apparently the rules in England have changed a bit and you can register at more than one surgery (ie one near your work).

MorphineDreams Sat 26-Jul-14 17:48:44

Yes. I was having a discussion with my GP and I told him I'd moved to the other side of town. He told me not to let reception know as I would no longer be able to be part of that surgery. I think this is ridiculous. I've had my GP since I was born and he has helped me through all sorts. I trust him and wouldn't want anyone else. I'm so glad he told me.

UsedToBeAPaxmanFan Sat 26-Jul-14 17:51:21

Our Gp surgery takes from 8 villages. It doesn't take from a nearby big village because that has its own GP surgery. In the nearby big village there are lots of issues with the GP surgery, and people from there regularly ask if they can register at our surgery but always get turned down.

I don't know if that is the case in urban areas as well, but certainly around here rurally all surgeries seem to operate like this. I don't know what happens if you're really unhappy with your surgery though.

annabanana19 Sat 26-Jul-14 18:54:46

I live outside the catchment to mine- just over the boundary but they've kept me and the kids. Id hate to move as i've been with this practice since i've been born and the GP's have become good friends over the years. 1 even came to see mum when she was gravely ill on her day off. They're brilliant!!

thisisnuts Sat 26-Jul-14 19:18:34

Our local GP surgeries have catchments, but it's not only linked to postcodes. Each surgery has a map with a boundary line of their catchment. I moved house and my nearest GP was my old one but because it was across the boundary I had to change surgeries. I've moved again since then, and none of the nearest GPs (within walking distance) will accept me into their catchment, yet because of my postcode I'm able to register with a practice that is a bus ride away.

In some areas you can register with a surgery close to work, and that's what DH has done but it wouldn't be practical for me.

Rafanderpants Sat 26-Jul-14 19:22:30

the other nearest surgery is a 5 min drive away (but too far to walk) so I don't know why I cant register there. they are the one who told me the postcode thing.

ive only got one letter different in my postcode!

Ill have to look into this as I really am not happy with current place that I HAD to take.

Rafanderpants Sat 26-Jul-14 19:23:12

Im a carer so my workplace is home so don't have the option of a workplace surgery.

TarkaTheOtter Sat 26-Jul-14 19:23:53

I thought there was meant to be some choice? I vaguely remember reading an academic study which showed that gps surgeries in areas where there were more surgeries to choose from had better outcomes. I would be amazed if you lived in an area with no choice at all as I thought there was a degree of overlap between catchments even in rural areas.

MrsLindor Sat 26-Jul-14 19:26:50

GP practices can register patients outside their usual area now, but they don't have to and you won't get a home visit, I doubt many will do it, as although their contract says they don't have to do give visits they know they'll end up visiting small children and the elderly, and they don't have time to be driving miles when they have a list of patients to see.

It's one of those things politicians think we'll win votes, but is completely impractical.

Rafanderpants Sat 26-Jul-14 19:29:24

mine doesn't do home visits and its also a bugger to get to as even though its just the corner its down a 2 way narrow snaky lane that you cant see whats coming and have to go there in 1st gear so takes us an eon to get there anyway!

ElephantsNeverForgive Sat 26-Jul-14 19:29:42

Two surgeries almost next door to each other. One will have us on their list, the other stops at main road insight of our upstairs windows.

And yes we are 15mins away.

I think village surgery in the opposite direction would have us, but no chemists, so not as useful.

ouryve Sat 26-Jul-14 19:32:41

We have that problem - where I lived (not far away) when first pregnant with DS1, the local one was full and short staffed and wouldn't take me and none of the others, despite not being far away, would take me, either. The day I started bleeding, at 6 weeks, I marched into the one that was just plain easiest to get to because I didn't exactly have time to wait for the PCT to go through the rigmarole of allocating me to a GP and I wasn't planning on living there long, anyhow.

Where we live now, the same GP group runs our
practice and the ones in neighbouring villages. Our only alternative is a GP walk in treatment centre that would take 2 long (and expensive) bus journeys to get to if you don't drive.

Pollywallywinkles Sat 26-Jul-14 20:11:55

GP surgeries in England have practice catchment areas. Have you googled the practice you wish to join to see if they have the catchment area map on the website?

Rafanderpants Thu 31-Jul-14 18:09:52

Is something like BUPA worth it? Im a fulltime carer so on an extrememly low income,( can only just afford to feed myself,) but I really need someone to take me and my dioabled DCs medical problems seriously and stop fobbing us off.

RedToothBrush Thu 31-Jul-14 18:26:05

You can apply to another surgery if you are outside their area. They are not however obliged to take you.

If you find yourself having trouble with this you can contact your local CCG who will find one for you (but you don't necessarily have a choice about which GP you will be allocated).

You do not have to justify or explain why you want to change.

So yes you can change GP, but it can be a difficult thing to do.

Rafanderpants Thu 31-Jul-14 19:11:36


Phineyj Thu 31-Jul-14 19:18:12

Yes, contact the local commissioning group and nag them politely until they find you an alternative. There will be one, I'm sure. We are in London where practices often refuse to take you as their lists are full, but after years of poor service I asked a friend at the PCT for some suggestions and she was able to come up with several -- the new one is so so much better!

Rafanderpants Thu 31-Jul-14 19:20:31

local commissioning group. how do I find out who and wherte they are?

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