How the GP can support a person with dementia

7. Changing Doctors

The person with dementia or their carer may want to change GP. Sometimes it's possible just to make appointments with other GPs in the practice - however, people may wish to change the GP they're registered with. If you want to be registered with another doctor at the practice speak to staff at reception and ask them if you can change. It might help to explain why you would like to change. For example, is there a GP with a special interest in dementia or a GP of the same gender? It is generally helpful for everyone involved to try and build trust with the same GP.

The person may want to change GP surgery rather than just switch from one doctor to another. If so, the person should visit the GP surgery they want to move to and ask to be registered as a new patient. Be aware that the surgery may not be accepting new patients.

The person doesn't need to specify why they are changing GP surgery. It can help to speak to reception staff and ask if the surgery has doctors who have a specialist interest in dementia before they make a decision. In some areas it may be quite difficult to change doctors. If you live in England your local clinical commissioning group (CCG) can advise you. The GP surgery or Citizens Advice Bureau should have the contact details. Alternatively, you can look on the NHS Choices website (see 'Other useful organisations' for details).

If you live in Wales the local health board can assist. The GP surgery or local Citizens Advice Bureau should have contact details. Alternatively, contact NHS Direct Wales, or look on their website.

The Health and Social Care in Northern Ireland Gateway will be able to provide you with advice and a full list of GP contact details if you are in Northern Ireland (see 'Other useful organisations' for details).

As a carer, you may wish to change the doctor of the person you care for. Whether you can do this depends on the person's capacity. If they have the capacity to make this decision for themself, then it is their decision to make. If they are not able to make this decision for themself, you may be able to make the decision. Generally, it will be the person's attorney under a health and welfare Lasting power of attorney, or the person's deputy for personal welfare, who will make this decision and arrange it. For more information, see our page: Lasting power of attorney.