Access to Healthcare

A common issue reported by some of Scotland’s most vulnerable groups is difficulty in registering at a GP Practice.  This is an issue that has affected Gypsy Travellers, refugees, people seeking asylum and people experiencing homelessness.

The Access to Healthcare – GP Registration cards were first designed to assist the above groups when registering with a new GP practice.  However as the cards have developed it is clear that they are supportive for anyone who needs to register at a new GP practice as well as the practice reception staff.

Joe Fitzpatrick, MSP, Minister for Public Health, Sport and Wellbeing said: “I am proud to be launching the Access to Healthcare information card which will ensure some of the most vulnerable groups in society can access the support and treatment they need. “They will be distributed via the groups who work with Gypsy/Travellers, people seeking asylum, refugees and those people experiencing homelessness. “The information provided on these cards will ensure good communication between patients and reception staff from the outset, leading to a more positive experience for everyone involved.” 

The cards have been co-designed by the Scottish Government Person Centred Care Team, Primary Care Team and the Scottish Public Health Network (ScotPHN).  Gypsy Travellers and groups that provide support to refugees, people seeking asylum and people experiencing homelessness were consulted in the development of the cards.

The cards were also shared with the Royal College of General Practitioners (RCGP), General Practice Managers, the Ministerial Steering Group for Gypsy Travellers and the New Scots Refugee Integration Strategy Health and Wellbeing group.

Katie Hawkins, a GP who works with homeless people at the Edinburgh Access Practice said: “I believe that the cards are an extremely useful way of informing patients and front line staff of the right everyone has to primary care. As a GP working with those experiencing homelessness I see the direct consequences to my patients from lack of access to primary care. I hope that the cards as well as recirculation of the 2018 guidelines and new registration form will enable more of the most marginalised in society to address their basic health needs.”

There are two cards available to assist those registering with a new GP practice.

The first is a business card which sets an individuals rights to healthcare in Scotland.  It also provides contact information for NHS Inform  and the Patient Advice and Support Service.

The second card is a larger, six sided ‘Z card’ which provides the same information as above, as well as more detail including reference to the recently revised Charter of Patient Rights and Responsibilities and NHS 24.

Supplies are available to be ordered at

You can download printable versions of the card here

GP Registration Card

GP Z Card