Mystery shopping report on GP registration

We have published a report detailing the findings of our ‘mystery shopping’ exercise around registering at GP practices.
Healthwatch Hillingdon Mystery Shopping Report on GP Registration Front Cover


This was as a result of us receiving a number of complaints in 2016 from residents who had been refused registration because they did not have photographic identification – which is contrary to the regulatory terms of GP practices’ General Medical Services contract.

We then raised concerns about this at the Hillingdon Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) Primary Care Access Forum. We subsequently worked with the CCG and the Forum to produce guidance for GP practices on registering new patients.

During May and June 2018, we carried out the mystery shopping project to determine whether, when registering new patients, GP practices in Hillingdon were following the NHS guidelines. We found that the majority were still not.

In light of the results of this exercise, we made several recommendations to the Hillingdon CCG:

  • Advise GP practices of their legal responsibilities when registering a patient under the General Medical Services Contract, by:
    a. writing to GP practices to outline their responsibilities
    b. raising through locality meetings and practice managers forums
    c. reviewing and reissuing the registration guidance sent to practices in 2016.
  • Seek assurance from GP practices that their registration policy meets the General Medical Services Contract and Equality Act 2010; and if necessary ask GP practices to submit their policy for audit.
  • Suggest GP practices review their policies, to ensure that when a person is unable to provide ID (such as our mystery shopper) that there is a process written into the policy that enables staff to meet the legal responsibility to register a person without ID.
  • Suggest that GP practices revise the information given to patients at registration.

Consequently, we have been advised that Hillingdon GPs have been contacted to remind them of these responsibilities.


If you need this report in a different format, please email or call 01895 272 997.

The full report can be accessed through the below link.

Healthwatch Hillingdon - GP Registration Mystery Shopper Report

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