Moving is often a juggling act and with so much to think about, some things don’t always make it to the top of the list, such as finding a new GP. A number of Army families have found it difficult to register with a doctor, and some of you have contacted us with problems around transferring patient records, either within the UK or overseas. Karen Ross, AFF Health & Additional Needs Specialist, has been investigating some of the issues you’re experiencing…


“I am finding it difficult to find an NHS GP.”

The HIVE can provide information about GP practices in your new location or you could ask friends or neighbours living in the area. The NHS Choices Armed Forces Healthcare page – available via has specific links to finding GP practices.


“My daughter has just turned 18 and has been told she can no longer remain registered at the Defence Primary Healthcare (DPHC) practice. Is this right?”

Once your child reaches 18 they will not be able to remain registered with the DPHC practice. However, there are some exceptions to this rule:

  • If your child normally lives with you and has a diagnosed   physical or mental illness or condition which makes them dependent on you.
  • A child who is single and normally resident in the home of the Service person, who for compassionate reasons such as the death or chronic ill health of the spouse/civil partner, needs to act as their carer.


“My NHS patient notes have not followed me on posting. When I went to the doctors it was assumed, due to gaps in my medical history, that the last time I had been to the doctors was more than six years ago.”

Before your patient records can be transferred, it’s best to inform the practice that you are moving. Patients can only be registered with one practice at a time and this includes DPHC centres. So if you are moving from the NHS to Defence Medical Services (DMS)overseas, you will have to register with a DPHC practice.

Your records should follow you by paper transfer because technology doesn’t allow for the movement of electronic records between the NHS and DMS.

If you or a member of your family have a medical condition or require ongoing treatment, it is helpful to ask for a copy of your relevant patient notes.

Since 2015, NHS GPs should give everyone free access to a summary of their records. There are plans within the NHS to enable web-based access to your records and Service families are particularly encouraged to look at this option, as it will enable improved continuity of care.


“I am currently posted overseas and needed some medical information. I contacted my last UK surgery to find that my records have been ‘deducted’ and I have to pay to access my own medical notes.”

Usually NHS medical notes should follow you on an overseas assignment if you are registered with a DPHC practice. You should not be charged for access to your medical records but this situation may occur if you are not registered with a DPHC practice overseas.


Get in touch with AFF

The Armed Forces Covenant states that Service families should not be disadvantaged due to their military lifestyle when accessing services and this includes healthcare.

If you are experiencing issues with GP registration or transfer/access to medical notes, contact Karen at

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