Following an extensive piece of work by Healthwatch Southampton that saw national guidance for GP registration being changed, we were commissioned to produce a video detailing their journey.
About their work
During a number of Healthwatch outreach sessions, individuals and groups raised with us the issue of not being able to register at GP practices due to not having the required photo ID and/or proof of address. People affected included homeless and former homeless people, young people, refugees and asylum seekers, people from Europe, women, older people – ultimately anyone without the required ID.
We worked tirelessly to establish the extent of the problem, who it affected and researched the reasons behind asking for ID. Working with health professionals locally we highlighted the issue and sought change. This included reaching an agreement with local GP surgeries not to turn people away who didn’t have ID.
As this was a national issue, we took the matter to NHS England and other organisations including the Equalities and Human Rights Commission. With this effort new national guidance was put in place which now says:
“If a patient cannot produce any supportive documentation but states that they reside within the practice boundary then practices should accept the registration.”
NHS England, November 2015
As a result of our work we have improved access to healthcare both locally and on a national level. We feel this is a great achievement and shows the role Healthwatch Southampton does play in advocating for change.