Haringey Welcome are currently continuing work begun before and during the Covid lockdowns, to try and ensure equal access to primary healthcare for all in Haringey.
Our survey of GP practices in Haringey in early 2020, and follow up surveys held by the Bureau of Investigative Journalism across the country in summer 2021, showed that a very large proportion of GP practices in Haringey and UK-wide insist on ID and proof of address as a condition for first registration, despite clear NHS guidance saying that everyone has a right to register with a GP even if they don’t have these documents. Migrants are some of the people most likely to be turned away.
As part of a new project launched by Healthwatch Haringey in cooperation with Haringey Welcome, on 1 September 2022 a letter went out to all GP Practices in the borough, reminding them of their obligations and informing them that a project to monitor and educate GP practices to encourage them to follow the guidance was about to begin. the letter was signed by Haringey Welcome, Healthwatch Haringey, Doctors of the World UK, Haringey Public Health, Haringey GP Federation, North Central London Integration Board, and Councillor Lucia Das Neves. You can see the letter here.
As part of the project, Healthwatch Haringey will repeat a mystery shopper survey of practices, hold training sessions for practice staff, hold a public launch event and reach out to communities to inform them of their rights. Further details about the project can be found here.
From October 2022, Healthwatch Haringey, assisted by volunteers from Haringey Welcome and other organisations, will be checking every Haringey GP practice to find out if they will register a new patient without proof of address or ID. We will also be finding out if practices offer an interpreter service and / or help with completing the registration forms.
We will do this by ‘mystery shopping’ GP practices through phone calls and practice visits.
We are now looking for volunteers to go into surgeries (not their own!) to pose as a prospective patient. The volunteer will ask if they can register without documents and what if they need an interpreter or help to fill in the form.
We are looking for people to go into one or two surgeries near them (not the GP practice where they are registered) and ask these questions. Healthwatch Haringey will be coordinating his and they have a short form to fill in and will offer a quick briefing in advance. The briefing can happen online or in-person in in October. They are flexible with dates.
We are asking volunteers to provide the following details and Healthwatch Haringey will contact them ASAP.
Surgeries they may be able to visit
A map of all Haringey GP surgeries can be found below and here.