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Wednesday, 3 October 2012

Registering with a GP and getting dental treatment

If you've just started university or you've moved away from home, it's a good idea to find a local GP practice and make an appointment to see a dentist. This means you don’t need to go back home if you need medical help.

Moving to a new area

Once you've started university or you've moved to a new area, register with a nearby GP practice as soon as possible.

Most universities have a student health centre on site, or you may want to find your own. Normally, you'll need to fill in a form (GMS1) at the surgery of the practice you would like to register with.

If you're staying in an area for a short period (for more than 24 hours but less than 3 months), ask to be treated as an NHS patient as a temporary resident. You won't be moving permanently to this practice, but details of any treatment you have will be passed to your own practice and added to your medical records. You can also be treated as a temporary resident by your previous GP if you become ill at home during holiday periods.

Registering with a new GP practice

When you move to a new practice, take along your NHS medical card. This has details of your current practice and your NHS number on it which will make it easier for you to register. Your NHS number ensures that your new practice will be sent your medical records quickly.

If you don't have an NHS card, you can get your NHS number from your current practice. It's a good idea to write this down along with their name and address. Keep this sort of information safe because you'll need it whenever you move practices.

Once you've registered with your new practice, you should be invited to the surgery for an initial consultation. At this consultation, you will be asked questions about your health and lifestyle.

You can also make appointments to see a doctor or nurse at the practice when you need treatment for illnesses and other medical conditions.

If you have any difficulties in registering or getting treatment as a temporary resident, go to the local Primary Care Trust (PCT). It may be possible for a PCT to find you a local GP practice and put your name on its list of NHS patients.

Finding a dentist

As well as a doctor, you'll also have to make an appointment to see a local dentist. Before you make an appointment, ask about the type of services they provide.

There are three types of dentist surgery that you can choose from:

  • surgeries that treat NHS patients
  • surgeries that treat private patients
  • surgeries that treat both NHS and private patients

You can get free NHS dental treatment if you're under 18 years old, or 18 and in full-time education.

Your local Primary Care Trust will be able to help you find a dentist that accepts NHS patients.  You can also search for NHS dentists online.

Private practices

Some people choose to pay for private health treatment or get it from work as a company benefit.

Some doctors and dentists will only accept patients with private health insurance, or people willing to pay every time they need treatment. Before you register, make sure you know what sort of practice they are.

You may also want to ask for a list of costs for the most common treatments so you can compare a number of practices in your area.

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