Moving Home: Find the Best GP

Choosing a New GP: 8 Tips to Find the Best Doctor When Moving Home

Choosing a new GP Practice after moving home and finding the best doctor is easy with these 8 great tips.  General Practitioners offer some of the most important care for you and your family.  Treatment and advice provided by GP practices can significantly affect your healthcare and quality of life.  Free tools and guides can help compare, rate and find the best doctor in your new area after moving house.  Most people don’t know where to find this information and simply choose the closest family surgery to their home.

Table of Contents:

1. Would Patients Recommend their GP Surgery
2. How to Find Reviews of Doctors
3. Finding the best Doctors for Long Term Conditions
4. How Easy is it to get a Doctors Appointment
5. Are Patients Satisfied with Opening Hours
6. How hard is it to Get Through by Phone
7. Visit the GP Practice
8. How to Register with a New Surgery

Moving Home: Find the Best Doctor

Moving Home: How to Find the Best Doctor

Moving home is often quoted as being more stressful than other life events such as getting divorced.  Problems with furniture not fitting and appliances not working are major issues.  One often overlooked areas is how to find the best family doctor when moving to a new area.  The English NHS does not force patients to go to the health centre closest to your home address.  Some rules exist, but we, as patients, can choose which medical practice to register with and be treated by.

Most people will know how to find information about the best restaurant or pub in an area.  Choosing the correct medical practitioner is a significantly bigger decision, yet people are not aware of the resources that can help make this decision.  Many people simply look online, or in a phone book to see the names of local surgeries and see if they are accepting new patients.

In 2017 this is crazy.

Great tools and tips to find the best doctors are available from the NHS itself.  Reviews by current patients and ratings comparing surgeries are displayed on the website.  Don’t leave one of the most important healthcare decisions down to chance.  Take 10 minutes and find a new Family Doctor that is the best in your area.

The Key Criteria When Finding a New GP Practice When Moving Home

Before we proceed to describe some of the key criteria for finding a new GP practice after moving home, we need to introduce a few things.

The website showcases two powerful NHS tools.  Our Best GP in my Town page explains how the NHS in England score local health centres for key criteria.  Views of current patients, using a 5 star rating system similar to hotels can be found on the GP ratings page.  Many people are put off by the terms ‘tools’, ‘information’ and ‘data’.  We show how these resources provide excellent guidance on healthcare providers near your new home.

The truth is most people don’t know what helpful guidance is available.  In recent years the NHS has provided much more information than has previously been available.  Many patients don’t know this information exists, we show you how doctors are rated.

Simply put, information about how accessible GP Surgeries are and how good potential doctors are is available for English patients.  This website pulls relevant information together in one place.  The eight tips highlighted show how you can successfully get the best medical care for you and your family.

1. Would Patients Recommend their GP Surgery to Someone Moving to the Area

Patients recommending their GP surgery is a positive sign and this can be compared when moving to a new area.  If you’re lucky enough to have family of friends living in the area you’re moving to it makes sense to ask for their opinion.  Value and trusted opinions of others are a key method of making decisions.  If you know people who use medical doctors in your new town ask their opinions.   Don’t worry if you don’t know anyone in your new area as the website publishes information from the NHS in England that can help.

The NHS surveys patients twice a year, asking them if they would recommend their GP surgery to people moving to the area.  Over a million people a year nationally are sent this question, but not many people know how to use the results.

  • Go to GP Ratings,
  • in the FIND LOCAL SERVICES box enter your new postcode.

Local GP surgeries will be displayed.  In the ‘WOULD RECOMMEND THE SURGERY’ column results show how likely it is that current patients would recommend care and treatment to those moving to the area.

To make it simple, medical practices are rated as either

  1. Among the best
  2. In the middle range
  3. Among the worst

This rating relates to England as a whole.  The higher the percentage the better.  Finding how local people rate potential medical centres is easy, even if you don’t know anyone in the area.

2.  How to Find Reviews of Family Doctors in Your Area

When moving home it is possible to find reviews of family doctors in your area.  Patients want a family doctor with excellent reviews, just as customers want to go to hotels with excellent reviews.    Doctors and medical practices are reviewed and rated using a five star system.  Rating a GP practice out of five stars is quite a new concept.  Not many potential patients know it exists, but it will become more common and is available to find the best clinics locally today.  This is especially useful if you and your family are moving house.

  • Go to GP Ratings,
  • in the FIND LOCAL SERVICES box enter your new postcode.

Reviews, with five stars being the highest score possible, are shown.  These ratings have come from users of NHS websites who have taken the time to rate GP Practices.  Click on the link displayed below the rating to see any comments.  When patients comment on services they help to inform others, just like Amazon product purchasers do everyday.   This is the second free and easy way to compare where the best GP Practice is in the area you’re moving home to.

3.  How to Find the Best Doctor for Specific Medical Conditions

Doctors in England are rated for how well they treat specific medical conditions.  The NHS supplies excellent information from patient reviews of GP Practices and how many people would recommend local surgeries.  This information is a great way of identifying highly rated doctors in your area.  The NHS monitors and reports on results for a number of specific medical conditions.  These results can be found for free and are easily understood.

The Best GP in my Town page highlights how to assess all GP Practices within a 5 to 50 mile radius for the care and treatment provided for long term conditions.  These conditions include

  • High Blood Pressure Management
  • Stroke Prevention
  • Managing Blood Glucose Levels in Diabetes
  • Cancer Detection Rates

Sufferers of one or more of these conditions will want the best healthcare to manage these conditions as possible, within their local area.  As an example, a patient suffering from Diabetes and moving home can find a GP or doctor that is great at managing Blood Glucose Levels.  This assessment is made by the English NHS and compares all practices nationally.  The higher the percentage score given to a medical centre the better.  100% is the best, 0% is the worst possible score, with ratings updated on an annual basis.

  • Go to Best GP in my Town page,
  • Choose Managing Long Term Conditions
  • in the IN A LOCATION box enter new postcode.
  • Choose the radius to search from this address
  • SORT BY Diabetes – Managing Blood Glucose Level (HbA1c)

To make it easier, better GP Practices will be shown as ‘Above England Value’ and not so good practices as ‘Below England Value’.

4.  How Easy is it to Get a GP Appointment After Moving Home

A key criteria when moving GP Practice is how easy is it to get an appointment.  Convenience is a key criteria when choosing a new doctors surgery.  A health care provider that is close to your new home or work is a positive.  Well located practices make it easier to get to at short notice.  Patients get frustrated with how long it takes to get an appointment, and moving to a new town and registering with a healthcare provider right on your doorstep isn’t helpful if patients struggle to get an appointment.  Registered patients of every NHS General Practitioner can rate their experience of making an appointment.  Medical practices are grouped into three bands:

  • Among the best (shown by a tick)
  • In the middle range (ok)
  • Among the worst (an exclamation mark is used to highlight this group)

A percentage is also supplied, the higher the number the better, with 100 being the top rating.

  • Go to GP Ratings,
  • in the FIND LOCAL SERVICES box enter your new postcode.
  • In the ‘topics’ select ‘PATIENT EXPERIENCE’

Use this information to compare how easy it is to get an appointment with medical practices in an area.

5.  Are General Practice Patients Satisfied with Opening Hours

A key factor in choosing a new General Practice is satisfaction with opening hours.  When moving home you may face an extra commute to work or schools.  Surgery opening hours are not the same for all 7,000 GP Practices in England.

Early morning, evening or weekend openings are key criteria to review when making the decision to choose a new medical practice.  Twice a year the national GP Patient Survey takes place.  One of the questions asked concerns how satisfied patients are with the opening hours at their practice.

Doctors surgeries are grouped into ‘among the best’, ‘in the middle range’, or ‘among the worst’.  The percentage of patients who are happy with opening hours can also be found.  The higher the percentage, the more satisfied patients are.  Go to GP Ratings, ensure GP is selected, enter the post code area you’re interested in, search for services and choose ‘patient experience – overall care’ in the ‘topics’ box.

Exact opening times can be found by doing a google search on all doctors within the area.  This will act as a good guide to how happy patients currently are and help to narrow down your selection criteria.

6.  How Easy is it to Speak on the Phone with a GP Practice

Comparing how easy it is to speak on the phone with a GP Practice is possible.  Finding the best doctor in the city is pointless if you can’t get through to them on the phone.  Just as potential patients should be concerned with GP Surgery opening hours, they should also be concerned with other communication methods.  Patients should be able to access care and treatment when needed.  When moving house you will not have used the facilities of your potential new surgery before.  Friends and colleagues offering advice on their experiences is helpful, but anecdotal.  GP Patients are surveyed twice a year, one of the questions asks how easy it is to get through to their surgery by phone.  Over 1.3 million patients are sent this survey each year, but the results are not known by many patients.

A percentage is provided for each practice, the closer the number is to 100 the better.  Doctors are also grouped into three categories, the best shown with a tick, the worst with an exclamation mark and the middle group as ‘ok’.  When moving home this information is very useful and should be used.  Go to our GP Rating page, enter the post code area you’re interested in, search for services and choose ‘patient experience – overall care’ in the ‘topics’ box.  ‘Ease of phone contact’ is shown as one of the key criteria.  This can be used to find the best rated doctors in an area after moving home.

7.  Visit the GP Practice before registering

Visiting the GP Practice before you register is a great idea.  In normal circumstances you may not be able to speak with a doctor, but you can go visit the surgery, speak to the receptionists, see the waiting room and inspect other facilities such as car parking.  If the car park is full, the waiting room is dirty and overcrowded and the receptionists overworked it could negatively impact on your choice.  Many people choose a new GP Surgery by looking for the closest health centre in the phone book, or online.  Visiting the doctors surgery adds a great deal to your knowledge, informing your choice.  Car parking, friendliness of staff and appearance of the waiting room are all factors that affect your choice of practice and should be considered.

After you move house, you can still see a doctor even if you are not registered.  This service is specifically for emergency treatment from the GP and is available for 14 days.  After the 14 day period you will need to register as a temporary or permanent patient.

8.  How to Register with the Best Doctor in your area

Registering with a doctor in a new area is the last phase to complete.  When you have reviewed General Practitioner ratings, found practices that manage long term conditions well and have convenient opening hours new patients need to register.  Without registering a GP will not add you  their practice list.

The GP Practice must accept you as a patient, unless there are reasonable grounds for refusal.  Reasons for refusal can include, the practice has no capacity for new patients, or you may live too far from their address.  Reasons for not accepting patients can’t be based on race, gender, age, disability or medical condition.

Practices may use their own version of registration forms and should be available from the reception.  Once this form is completed NHS England will transfer your medical records to your new practice.  Your new practice will then confirm your registration as a patient.  No reason needs to be given if changing practices, but you can state you are moving home.

How to Choose a New Medical Practice When Moving Home

Comparing and choosing a new medical practice when moving house is easy.  Follow the simple steps highlighted to find family doctors with the best facilities, appearance, opening hours and performance for your own requirements and the needs of your family.  Once you have identified a great doctor or surgery ask them for a registration form and complete all questions.  NHS England will then transfer your medical records.  If after a period of time you are not happy with the treatment received you can transfer to another GP Practice using the same process.