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Doctors/GPs

What are GP services?

These services include your typical GP surgery but also a range of other services such as out-of-hours or mobile doctor services, walk-in centres, minor injury units or urgent care centres.

A fresh start for the regulation and inspection of GP practices and GP out-of-hours services

Last year we set out our plans for regulating, inspecting and monitoring GP practices and GP out-of-hours services.

A fresh start for the regulation and inspection of GP practices and GP out-of-hours services PDF | 392 KB

You can read about our new approach in detail in our provider handbooks.

Types of GP service

NHS GP practices

  • Range in size from those run by one doctor to those with large numbers of partners working across multiple sites.
  • Many practices also employ staff including nurses, physiotherapists and office managers.
  • Doctors will carry out medical consultations and minor treatments, discuss diagnosis and treatment and may prescribe medication.

NHS out-of-hours services

  • These operate during the out-of-hours period when your GP practice is closed – usually 6.30pm - 8am on weekdays and all day on weekends and bank holidays.
  • If you call your GP practice during this period, you will usually be redirected to one of these services.
  • May include GPs or healthcare professionals working from A&E departments and minor injury units or making home visits.
  • Sometimes involves ambulance services moving patients to where they can be seen by a doctor or a nurse.

Walk-in centres

  • Usually managed by a nurse, these services are available to all and no appointments are needed.
  • Most centres are open 365 days a year and outside office hours.
  • Deal with minor illnesses and injuries rather than long-term conditions or life-threatening problems.
  • Some centres also offer access to doctors as well as nurses.

Minor injury units

  • Deal with minor injuries such as broken bones, sprains, burns and scalds.
  • Allow A&E staff to concentrate on more serious injuries and conditions.
  • Can help you avoid a long wait for a minor treatment in A&E.
  • Some minor injury units and walk-in centres do not have facilities to treat young children.