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Guide to registering for GPs and other primary medical services



First things first – do you need to register?

Quick tip

It’s the provider of care that registers with CQC, not the individual places where care takes place or individual GPs.

For example...
A GP partnership with three practices only needs to complete one application – they include details for each practice on that single application.

All NHS primary medical services working under one of the following contracts or agreements must register.

  • General Medical Services (GMS)
  • Personal Medical Services (PMS)
  • Alternative Provider Medical Services (APMS)
  • NHS Act 2006 Section 3 (contracts with the Secretary of State)


You don’t need to register if…

The scope of registration

Scope of registration cover

…you don’t provide primary medical services yourself. For example, if your premises are used by other people who are responsible for providing those services.

…you’re already registered with us. If you need to add medical services to your current registration, call us on 03000 616161 to find out how.

If you're still not sure if you should register, read The scope of registration.


Registration for private practice

All of the services you provide should be included in your registration – this means services you provide privately as well as NHS services.

Click here to find out about registration if you provide private services

Looks like you will need to register? Here's some information to help you get ready


What you'll need to tell us in your registration for

1 State which type of legal entity you are and how many locations you have

Quick tip

We think most GP practices will register as a partnership and their surgery will be a location.

Providers of care such as limited companies, partnerships and individuals need to register with CQC. Providers then have to register any places where they provide care (locations).

In simple terms, a location is where you're based but the guidance around this is more complex so you need to read the full guidance on locations to make sure you understand.

It should usually be straightforward to work out who the legal entity is and which locations you should register. For example, most GP practices will register as a partnership and their surgery will be a location.

You need to make sure that you register as the correct provider type and for the correct locations.

More details to help you decide your provider type and location(s)


2 Tell us what legally regulated activities you'll register for

Quick tip

We've provided help on the most common activities we'd expect primary medical services to register but you should read the full guidance to make sure you register for the correct ones.

We regulate 15 different activities under the Health and Social Care Act. If you carry out any of these activities, you have to register with us.

It may help you to think of these as the services you provide.

We’re expecting up to 9,000 GP practices and 1,000 other primary medical services to register with us. Of those, we expect…

All to register for:

  • Treatment of disease, disorder and injury

Most to register for:

  • Diagnostic and screening procedures
  • Surgical procedures (don’t register this if you only perform curettage, cautery or cryocautery of warts, verrucae or other skin lesions)
  • Maternity and midwifery services

Many to register for:

  • Family planning services (but only if you fit or remove IUCDs)

You need to make sure you register for the right regulated activities. Full details of all the activities can be found in our Scope of Registration document.

More details on which regulated activities to register for


3 Tell us who in your organisation will be responsible for complying with the essential standards

Quick tip

Some practices we spoke to thought their practice manager should be the registered manager.

Because registered managers need to be able to influence compliance with the essential standards, a partner is usually more appropriate.

All providers of care need to tell us who will share responsibility for ensuring that the essential standards are met.

Most providers will need registered manager(s). These people will share legal responsibility with the provider for ensuring that the regulated activities meet the essential standards.

You'll only need a nominated individual if you register as an 'organisation'. This person will act as the main point of contact with CQC for each regulated activity. This should be a director, manager or company secretary.

You need to make sure you choose the appropriate people to be your registered manager(s) and nominated individual(s).

More details on registered manager(s) and nominated individual(s)


4 Tell us if you already comply with the essential standards or if you need to think about any changes

How to prepare

Think about whether the regulated activities you provide at each of your locations comply with the 16 essential standards of quality and safety.

Read the guidance

If you aren’t already familiar with the essential standards, you should start by reading our Guidance about compliance: Essential standards of quality and safety.

This guidance is relevant to all health and social care services. It focuses on the outcomes for patients – that is, what patients should be able to expect from the care they receive. It includes a ‘prompts’ section for each essential standard that will help you ask the right questions of yourself.

For each essential standard, our guidance also contains the actual text from the regulations. The essential standards are there to help you understand how the regulations can be translated into outcomes for patients but you should also read and understand the regulations – you’ll be inspected and regulated against these.

Guidance from other professional bodies

Other bodies – such as the BMA – also provide guidance about compliance specific to GPs and other primary medical services. You can review the BMA's recently published Guidance on CQC registration.

You need to comply with the essential standards of quality and safety.

More details on complying with the essential standards


5 Tell us which service types you will need to register

Quick tip

The majority of GP practices only provide 'Doctors' treatment services' and 'Doctors' consultation services'.

In some cases you may need to register other services types so check the guidance carefully.

There are 28 service types. When you fill in your application form you will be asked to tell us which service types you provide.

We expect:

  • All GPs and some other primary care providers to register for ‘Doctors’ treatment services’ and ‘Doctors’ consultation services’.
  • Some GP practices to register for ‘Mobile doctors’ services’.
  • Some minor injury units to register for ‘Acute services’.
  • All urgent care centres, minor injury units, GP-led health centres and walk-in centres to register for ‘Urgent care services’.

You need to make sure you register for the right services types. Read about each of the service types in more detail below.

More details on which service types to register for


6 Start thinking about Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS, formerly CRB) checks

When you register with CQC, some members of your organisation may need a DBS check. For registration, we only accept CQC-countersigned DBS checks at enhanced level.

What you should be doing now

Read the information we've added below and consider who in your practice or organisation will need to apply for a CQC-countersigned, enhanced level DBS check and when they need to apply.

Apply for a DBS check

CQC-countersigned, enhanced level DBS checks

Who needs one?
When and how should you apply for it?