NBTA Winter Warmer

On the Thursday 12 November 2015 The National Bargee Travellers Association London organised a winter warmer meal, where at least 46 people came to. It was great night. The food, the speech, the people and the discussion were all great.

David Luff spoke about the campaign our community won in 2003, where the British Waterways (CRT’s predecessors) tried to push our community off the water. There was some discussion on what do we do about CRT’s recent attack. There was feeling in the room for willingness to stand up to CRT. Then food was served and people got on with chatting to each other.

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Trial Mooring Code

In 2003, British Waterways (BW) (the predecessor of CRT) introduced a Trial Mooring Code requiring Constant Cruisers to travel a staggering 120 consecutive lock miles every 3 months, and log their cruising in a book available to patrol officers on demand. BW claimed this was necessary due to overcrowding and overstaying. The new policy was scrapped however, following profound pressure from the boater community, local user groups and an independent consultation. The independent consultation examined opinions and impacts on the entire boater community, particularly the impact on healthcare access, education, employment and benefits. The 2003 campaign showed that we can win, which is why now, as we face a similar fight with CRT, it is important to reflect and learn from previous successes.

The independent consultation was produced by Hannah and David Luff. David will be speaking about the campaign in 2003 and possible future strategies for boaters at the NBTA London Winter Warmer on Thursday 12th November. For further information www.bit.ly/1LIcmaJ

‘Have one on us’ says the London branch of the NBTA as the Old Ford Lock toilet re-opens

The boaters toilet at Old Ford Lock in Hackney will be re-opened this weekend following an agreement between the Canal and River Trust and the London branch of the National Bargee Travellers Association following the recent Forage For Facilities event.

cat on crapper

The toilet was closed a few years ago due to vandalism, but following the negotiations as part of the Forage for Facilities, the toilet will be fitted with a padlock and be in use again on Monday 19th October, 2016. As part of the refit, a new rubber seal will also be fitted to the elsan to stop it clanging.

A spokesperson for the NBTAL said: “This is the boater’s toilet, so please have one on us and help to keep it clean and watch out for vandalism. CRT will maintain it as part of their maintenance schedule and the NBTAL has pledged to make any repairs, but if it’s totally trashed we may lose it for good.”

CRT claim that they spent over £10,000 on repairing vandalised boater facilities in London so far this year.

It is believed that London Mayor Boris Johnson may be coming to the opening ceremony to cut the ribbon and take the first dump.

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Disabled boaters – know your rights says NBTA

NBTA News release October 2015

Campaigning by the National Bargee Travellers Association (NBTA) and other groups has meant that the Canal and River Trust (CRT) has now adopted a standard procedure for assessing and agreeing adjustments to its enforcement procedure for boaters with disabilities and chronic illnesses.

If you have a disability, are older, or are pregnant, you are entitled under the Equality Act 2010 not to have the enforcement policies and procedures of Canal & River Trust (CRT) or any other authority applied to you in the same way as they would be applied to the majority.

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For example, this means CRT cannot tell you that you should not be living on a boat because you are disabled, “too old” or pregnant. These rights are in addition to the rights of all boaters without home moorings on CRT waterways to stay in one place longer than 14 days if it is “reasonable in the circumstances”.

The National Bargee Travellers Association has assisted a number of boat dwellers without home moorings to negotiate ‘reasonable adjustments’ to CRT’s enforcement procedure. For example, a boater who uses a mobility scooter is now able to use visitor moorings for 14 days at a time without attracting enforcement action, because he needs to be moored on a hard edge to get the mobility scooter on and off the boat.

In another case in London, a boater on a restricted licence with ongoing mental health issues, who was being supported by a NBTAL case worker, was offered an Equalities Adjustment to their cruising pattern by CRT. However, prior to the restricted licence, CRT had failed to inform the boater of the Equalities Adjustment policy, despite the boater informing them of their illness and treatment. If you are disable or have a chronic illness lasting more than 12 months, it is important that you make sure any CRT enforcement officer you are in contact with is aware of this policy.

The NBTA has published full advice for disabled boaters and for boaters who are pregnant or elderly. The detailed advice sheet can be found on the NBTA London branch (NBTAL) website here: https://nbtalondon.wordpress.com/2015/10/16/full-advice-sheet-for-disabled-elderly-and-pregnant-boaters/

The CRT procedure ‘flow chart’ for implementing their Equalities Adjustments, which was obtained following a Freedom of Information request can be found on the NBTAL website here: https://nbtalondon.wordpress.com/2015/10/16/crt-equalities-adjustment-process-flow-chart/

Ends

Full advice sheet for disabled, elderly and pregnant boaters

Disabled Bargee Travellers – know your rights

 If you have a disability, are older, or are pregnant, you are entitled under the Equality Act 2010 not to have the enforcement policies and procedures of Canal & River Trust (CRT) or any other authority applied to you in the same way as they would be applied to the majority. For example, this means CRT cannot tell you that you should not be living on a boat because you are disabled, “too old” or pregnant. These rights are in addition to the rights of all boaters without home moorings on CRT waterways to stay in one place longer than 14 days if it is “reasonable in the circumstances”. As a result of campaigning by the National Bargee Travellers Association (NBTA) and other groups, CRT has now adopted a standard procedure for assessing and agreeing adjustments to its enforcement procedure for boaters with disabilities.

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Direct, combined and indirect discrimination defined by the Equality Act 2010

According to Sections 13 and 14 of the Equality Act 2010, direct discrimination occurs if a person is treated less favourably than others because of one or more of the protected characteristics defined in the Equality Act 2010.

According to Section 19 of the Equality Act 2010, indirect discrimination occurs if a provision, criterion or practice is applied to a person with a protected characteristic and puts them at a substantial disadvantage compared to the application of the provision, criterion or practice to a person who does not share that protected characteristic, and the person or organisation applying the provision, criterion or practice cannot show that it is proportionate a means of achieving a legitimate aim. The protected characteristics that are most affected by navigation authorities’ enforcement practice are disability, age, pregnancy and maternity.

Termination of the boat licence following enforcement action by CRT is a substantial disadvantage in that it automatically leads to action under Section 8 of the British Waterways Act 1983 that evicts the boat dweller and their boat from CRT waterways for life by means of an court order and an injunction. This obviously renders the boat dweller homeless (because CRT controls 80% of the UK’s inland waterways) and puts the boat dweller at substantial risk of losing their boat altogether by having it seized by CRT under Section 8 of the 1983 Act if they cannot remove it themselves.

Disability discrimination, what is a disability and ‘reasonable adjustments’

A disability is defined by Section 6 and Schedule 1 of the Equality Act 2010 as a physical or mental impairment that has a substantial and long-term adverse effect on a person’s ability to carry out normal day-to-day activities that has lasted for more than 12 months. You don’t need to be registered disabled or to have a Blue Badge or to receive disability benefits to be included in this definition.

CRT would be discriminating directly against a disabled boater contrary to Section 15 and Schedule 2 of the Equality Act 2010 if it treated the boater unfavourably because of their disability by taking enforcement action against them for allegedly failing to comply with section 17(3)(c)(ii) of the British Waterways Act 1995 in circumstances where an non-disabled boater would be able to comply.

Section 19 and Schedule 2 of the Equality Act 2010 mean that CRT is required not to apply its enforcement procedure to a boater with a disability in a way that puts them at a substantial disadvantage compared to persons who are not disabled. In other words, if a boater with a disability is unable to comply with Section 17 3 c ii of the British Waterways Act 1995 in circumstances where an non-disabled person would be able to comply, CRT is not entitled to terminate their boat licence.

Sections 20 and 21 of the Equality Act 2010 mean that CRT is required to take such steps as are reasonable (“reasonable adjustments”) to avoid putting boaters with disabilities at a substantial disadvantage compared to persons who are not disabled. This is because CRT’s enforcement of Section 17 3 c ii would result in the removal of their home from its waterways if applied to the disabled boater in the same way that it is applied to boaters who are not disabled. A boater with a disability is entitled to tell CRT what adjustments they require and CRT is required to make these adjustments if they are deemed reasonable. Reasonable cannot be defined in advance, but if an adjustment is recommended by a GP this should be taken as reasonable.

Section 20 of the Equality Act 2010 means that CRT is not entitled to require a disabled person to pay any of its costs in complying with its duty to make reasonable adjustments, because to do so would be discrimination in itself. Therefore CRT is not entitled to charge a disabled boater for staying longer than 14 days in one place, or to require the disabled boater to pay for a temporary or permanent mooring, where an non-disabled boater would not need that service and therefore would not be asked to pay for it.

Examples of ‘reasonable adjustments’

The National Bargee Travellers Association has assisted a number of boat dwellers without home moorings to negotiate ‘reasonable adjustments’ to CRT’s enforcement procedure. For example, a boater who uses a mobility scooter is now able to use visitor moorings for 14 days at a time without attracting enforcement action, because he needs to be moored on a hard edge to get the mobility scooter on and off the boat.

Age and combined age and disability discrimination

CRT would be discriminating directly against an older boater contrary to Section 13 of the Equality Act 2010 if it treated the boater unfavourably because of their age by taking enforcement action against them for allegedly failing to comply with section 17(3)(c)(ii) of the British Waterways Act 1995 in circumstances where a younger boater would be able to comply. For example, some older boaters are less physically strong than younger people and may not be able to travel as far, or as safely in adverse weather conditions; they may not be able to travel without crew or may need to remain within reach of medical treatment for age-related conditions that do not amount to a disability.

CRT would be discriminating directly against an older boater who was also disabled contrary to Sections 13 and 14 of the Equality Act 2010 if it treated the boater unfavourably because of their combined age and disability by taking enforcement action against them for allegedly failing to comply with section 17(3)(c)(ii) of the British Waterways Act 1995 in circumstances where a younger boater without that disability would be able to comply.

According to Section 19 of the Equality Act 2010, CRT is required not to apply its enforcement procedure to an older boater in a way that puts them at a substantial disadvantage compared to persons who are younger and who are not disabled. In other words, if an older boater is unable to comply with Section 17 3 c ii of the British Waterways Act 1995 in circumstances where a younger person would be able to comply, CRT is not entitled to terminate their boat licence.

According to Section 19 of the Equality Act 2010, CRT is required not to apply its enforcement procedure to an older boater with a disability in a way that puts them at a substantial disadvantage compared to persons who are younger and who are not disabled. In other words, if an older boater with a disability is unable to comply with Section 17 3 c ii of the British Waterways Act 1995 in circumstances where a younger person without that disability would be able to comply, CRT is not entitled to terminate their boat licence.

Discrimination on the grounds of pregnancy and maternity

CRT would be discriminating directly against a boat dweller who was pregnant or who has given birth within 26 weeks contrary to Sections 13 and 17 of the Equality Act 2010 if it treated the boater unfavourably because of the pregnancy or birth by taking enforcement action against them for allegedly failing to comply with Section 17 3 c ii of the British Waterways Act 1995 in circumstances where a boater who was not pregnant or who had not given birth would be able to comply. These circumstances include needing to moor in a place where the pregnant woman is able to get on and off the boat safely without needing to walk across a plank; where she needs to stay in a place where the health visitor is willing to visit her and the baby, and being unable to travel safely with a baby without a second or third adult being present.

According to Sections 17 and 19 of the Equality Act 2010, CRT is required not to apply its enforcement procedure to a boat dweller who is pregnant or has given birth within 26 weeks in a way that puts her at a substantial disadvantage compared to a boater who is not pregnant or who has not given birth. In other words, if a boat dweller who is pregnant or who has given birth is unable to comply with Section 17 3 c ii of the British Waterways Act 1995 in circumstances where a boater who is not pregnant or who has not given birth would be able to comply, CRT is not entitled to terminate her boat licence.

Contracts

Section 142 of the Equality Act 2010 provides that a term of a contract (such as the General Terms and Conditions of Boat Licences) is unenforceable against a person in so far as it constitutes, promotes or provides for treatment of that or another person that is of a description prohibited by the Act. It also provides that a relevant non-contractual term (such as advisory guidance) is unenforceable against a person in so far as it constitutes, promotes or provides for treatment of that or another person that is of a description prohibited by the Equality Act 2010, insofar as the Act relates to disability. Section 144 of the Equality Act 2010 provides that a term of a contract is unenforceable by a person in whose favour it would operate in so far as it purports to exclude or limit a provision of or that is made under the Act.

What to do if CRT violates your Equality Act rights

CRT may take enforcement action against you because you cannot comply with Section 17 3 c ii because of age, disability, pregnancy or maternity. CRT may also refuse to agree to the reasonable adjustments that you need and as a result carry out enforcement action against you. We recommend that you pursue this by making a formal complaint to CRT on the grounds of discrimination, in line with CRT’s complaints procedure.

As well as the NBTA, you can get advice and assistance from the Equality Advisory Service (EAS): the advice, guidance and mediation arm of the Equality and Human Rights Commission https://www.equalityadvisoryservice.com/. The EAS can assist you to write a complaint and will also help you to negotiate with CRT. If there is a law centre in your area it will also provide this assistance. Below is a template complaint letter.

The British Waterways Act 1995

Section 17 3 c ii of the British Waterways Act 1995 states that a boater without a home mooring is entitled to stay longer than 14 days in a place if it is reasonable in the circumstances. This is not qualified by any power to charge for a longer stay, to confer or withhold permission, or to limit the circumstances that are deemed reasonable. “Reasonable” and “circumstances” are not defined in the Act, and nor does the Act set a limit on how much longer a boater can stay in one place.

There is case law (Moore v British Waterways [2013] EWCA Civ 73, paragraph 63) that establishes the principle that “reasonable” cannot be defined in advance. There is also case law establishing the principle that a public body must have express authority in statute to levy charges (McCarthy and Stone (Developments) Ltd v Richmond upon Thames LBC [1989] UKHL 4).

We believe that any reasonable person would agree that a boater who needs access to ongoing medical treatment, who has been hospitalised, who is ill or who cannot navigate because of a disability, age, an injury, pregnancy or responsibility for children has the right to stay for longer than 14 days in one place without further charge, and should not be subject to enforcement action.

See https://www.equalityadvisoryservice.com/

CRT’s process for agreeing reasonable adjustments is available by following this link:

Here is a template complaint and request for reasonable adjustments:

Denise Yelland

Head of Boating Enforcement

Canal & River Trust,

First Floor North,

Station House,

500 Elder Gate,

Milton Keynes MK9 1BB

denise.yelland@canalrivertrust.org.uk

Dear Ms Yelland

BOAT NAME….. INDEX NO….

This is a Level 1 complaint in line with your complaints procedure.

I am not satisfied with the way that I have been treated by the Canal & River Trust. I wish to inform you that I have a disability.

CRT has discriminated directly against me contrary to Section 15 of the Equality Act 2010. CRT has treated me unfavourably because of my disability in taking enforcement action against me for allegedly failing to comply with section 17 3 c ii of the British Waterways Act 1995 in circumstances where an able-bodied boater would be able to comply. CRT has provided me with no justification that this treatment is a proportionate means of achieving a legitimate aim.

Pursuant to Section 19 of the Equality Act 2010, CRT is required not to apply its enforcement procedure to me in a way that puts me at a substantial disadvantage compared to persons who are not disabled. In other words, if I am unable to comply with Section 17 3 c ii in circumstances where an able-bodied person would be able to comply, you are not entitled to terminate my licence.

In addition, pursuant to Sections 20 and 21 of the Equality Act 2010 CRT is required to take such steps as are reasonable to avoid putting me at a substantial disadvantage compared to a person who is not disabled. This is because CRT’s enforcement of Section 17 3 c ii would result in the removal of my home from your waterways if you apply it to me in the same way that you apply it to boaters who are not disabled. You have failed to make such reasonable adjustments.

Pursuant to Article 19 of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, I have the right to live in the community and to choose my place of residence; I am not obliged to live in a particular living arrangement, and I am entitled to support to facilitate living and inclusion in the community. The UK is a signatory to this Convention. Therefore, CRT is not entitled to dictate that I should not continue to live on my boat. CRT is obliged to facilitate my choice to live on my boat, and it is obliged to make the use of the waterways available to me on an equal basis to the general population in a way that is responsive to my needs.

In addition, your own policy (BW Disability Equality Scheme 2009) states on Page 6 that:

We shall:-

  1. Ensure that the needs of people with disabilities are built into all our policies and plans.
  2. Ensure that staff are aware of and supported in meeting the needs of people with disabilities.
  3. Ensure that the needs of people with disabilities are taken into account in the delivery of services, promotional material, interpretation, education initiatives and special events.
  4. Monitor and evaluate the impact we are having on people with disabilities and take action as appropriate;

You have clearly breached this policy in my case.

In order to remedy my complaint I require you to take the following action:

  1. The reasonable adjustment that I require is _ _ _ _ _ _
  2. I require you to cease and desist from discriminating against me directly and indirectly on the grounds of my disability in contravention of the Equality Act 2010.

I look forward to your reply within 15 working days.

Yours sincerely

A Boater

National Bargee Travellers Association

October 2015

CRT promise more bogs and taps after Forage For Facilities follow up lobbying meeting

Date: Wednesday 7th October 2015

Present Sam Thomas/Canal and River Trust (CRT), Helen Brice/Mike Doherty National Bargee Traveller Association London (BTAL)

Following the National Bargee Travellers Association London (NBTAL) Forage for Facilities event, a meeting was arranged with Canal River Trust to press for more facilities. Before this meeting, the NBTAL also pressed for CRT to meet with boaters at a public event, arranged and promoted AND hosted by the NBTAL, to listen to boater ideas and negotiate solutions. CRT need to address the appalling lack of facilities for London’s 4,000 licence paying boats and  The National Bargee Traveller Association London will be canvassing members and other boaters for ideas for where to put more facilities in the next financial year. These ideas will be presented at the public NBTAL meeting with CRT in December. A spokesperson for the NBTAL said: “Its a public meeting at the funky boater run Save the Date Café in Dalston, details to follow soon. It will be about more bogs, elsans, taps and pump outs.so be there or forever hold your stool.”

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Meeting notes

  • NBTAL Public meeting on facilities agreed with Sowar and Sam from CRT presenting CRT plans for more facilities in this financial year and the next. Date is Wednesday 9th at Save the Date Cafe in Dalston, seating 50-60 standing 100-200. Food will be served plus bar AFTER the event. NBTAL to promote.
  • Running order – NBTAL speaker followed by Sam presentation followed by Q and A chaired by Helen Brice.
  • This is a meeting on facilities and maintenance and will be chaired as such – we will be pushing for a public meeting on enforcement with next if that is what the NBTAL decides.
  • Old Ford Lock toilet will be open within three weeks. Plus rubber round elsan lid to stop banging. NBTAL signs asking boaters to be careful what to put in them. NBTAL members to keep an eye out for vandalism.
  • Showers at Stonebridge. CRT spent £10,000 on vandelised facilities. Stonebrifdge will be fixed are not being removed but problems with rough sleepers using them and chronic vandalism so if vandalism continues they will think again. NBTAL suggested Cafe be part of monitoring plus local boaters.

CRT- this financial year (ends march 2016) they have these facilities planned to be built– no more budget for this year:

  • 4 extra water taps – Ponders End, Lee Bridge Weir, Slough Basin, Southall Bankside
  • 2 extra bin points –Southall bankside, Alperton at the pub. NBTAL to promote pub as a good place to have a beer for Landlord agreeing to host bins once bins are in place.
  • One pump below Sturts Lock plus elsan and water tap to replace promised one for Bluebell moorings.
  • Money for more mooring rings. How much? Depends. Suggested Haggerston big empty strip. Problem with school opposite but will look into it.
  • New Eastwick Permanant Moorings on River Lea (near Olympics) – the facilities (pump out/elsan and water tap) will be available and live soon).
  • Looking into more ways to sell pump out cards boater’s ideas welcomed. Cafe Stonebridge?
  • Oil disposal planned this financial year.

Next financial year? Broxbourne? Open to offers. Kensal Green? Sainsburies stonewalling otherwise CRT would be willing to put bins and tap maybe elsan there. How about boater’s campaign to ‘persuade’ Sainsburies to relent? Go ahead.

What about regular runs by a CRT boat to collect refits and big items? Possible but a lot of canal to cover. More like regular disposal spots for collection so don’t clog up waste bins.

NBTAL – What about bringing the disused dry dock at Bulls Bridge back into use as a low cost DIY spot for boaters? Sam – Good idea – there is one in Wigan and that works. Sam to look into that.

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BOATERS WITH RESTRICTED LICENCES CAN VOTE IN CRT COUNCIL ELECTIONS FOLLOWING NBTA INTERVENTION

Boaters with restricted licences are no longer barred from voting in CRT Council elections following a U-turn from CEO Richard Parry after National Bargee Traveller Association members raised their concerns at the September public user group meeting in London.

Boaters with ‘restricted licences’ can vote, sponsor candidates and stand for election to the Canal & River Trust (CRT) Council following the intervention of the National Bargee Travellers Association (NBTA). The rules of the election state that “to be eligible to stand for election, sponsor an election candidate and vote in the election in [the private boating] constituency, you must hold a 12-month canal or river boat licence on 30 September 2015”.

Camden Locks

Chief Executive Richard Parry told the NBTA that CRT had no idea that preventing boaters without home moorings from renewing their licences for 12 months would disenfranchise them from the forthcoming CRT Council election, and that this was not an intended consequence of the new enforcement policy. The NBTA raised the issue at the CRT User Forum in September 2015. Mr Parry confirmed to the NBTA later last month that the standard invitation to take part in the election had been sent to those boaters who have been stopped from renewing their licences for 12 months. The deadline to nominate candidates is 14th October 2015.

CRT’s new policy, effective from 1st May 2015, unlawfully imposes a minimum range of movement contrary to Section 17 (3) (c) (ii) of the British Waterways Act 1995. The Act does not specify a minimum distance or range that is required for compliance, beyond the limit of 14 continuous days in any one place. Yet CRT has stated that unless boaters without home moorings travel in a range of at least 15 to 20 miles, and CRT would expect the range to be greater than this, their licences will not be renewed for the full 12 months unless they take a home mooring. When CRT’s predecessor British Waterways (BW) tried to impose a similar regime (the ‘Lock Miles Rules’ in 2003), the threat of legal action forced BW to drop the proposal. In December 2012 CRT’s own Towpath Mooring Q and A conceded that the Trust would be acting beyond its powers if it set a minimum distance.

An estimated 350 to 400 boaters without home moorings have had their licence renewal refused for the full 12 months due to CRT’s new policy. Extrapolated over a full year, this figure shows that around 25% of boaters without home moorings are at risk of being evicted from CRT waterways and having their homes seized and destroyed. The NBTA will take whatever steps are necessary to defend bargee travellers against this attack on the right to use and live on a boat without a home mooring.

NOTES
For more information contact the National Bargee Travellers Association, secretariat@bargee-traveller.org.uk
The National Bargee Travellers Association (NBTA) is a volunteer organisation that campaigns and provides advice for itinerant boat dwellers on the UK’s inland and coastal waters. The NBTA London one of the local branches and has been running for just over a year. Contact nbtalondon@gmail.com

Boats can be licensed to use Canal & River Trust’s waterways without a permanent mooring under Section 17(3)(c)(ii) of the British Waterways Act 1995. Section 17 is the legal basis for CRT’s enforcement powers. This section states:

(ii) the applicant for the relevant consent satisfies the Board that the vessel to which the application relates will be used bona fide for navigation throughout the period for which the consent is valid without remaining continuously in any one place for more than 14 days or such longer period as is reasonable in the circumstances.

National Bargee Travellers Association

30, Silver St, Reading, Berkshire, RG1 2ST

0118 321 4128

secretariat@bargee-traveller.org.uk

Registering with a GP as a boat dweller without a home mooring

Any British or EU citizen has a right to register with a GP to access primary care services. It doesn’t matter what anyone says otherwise, that is your right. However, GP practices don’t always accept that straight away and will demand proof of address. They might even tell you that it is impossible to register you without proof of address because a higher authority will not let them. This is not true. GP practices have always had the discretion to register patients out of their catchment area and having no proof of address is not a legitimate reason to refuse your registration.

The NHS is legally obliged under the Health and Social Care Act 2012 to reduce inequalities between patients and this includes improving access to healthcare services for travellers. According to the following NHS guidance, GPs must allow people without a permanent address (no fixed abode) to register at their practice when the practice is open to registering new patients, see the following link:

http://www.england.nhs.uk/wp-content/uploads/2014/05/who-pays.pdf

Some GPs will register travelling boat dwellers without any hassle. Simply go and register and provide an address where you would like your letters to go. If you don’t have an address, ask them to put down the address of the practice. It may help, when you go in person,  if you take in a copy of this post and the document ‘who pays’ (the link is in the article). Also note that some GPs take a letter from your bank as prove of address, so if you can take in a letter from your bank to the address you want to use.

If for some reason the practice refuses to register you and they are currently registering patients, do the following:

  1. Ask to talk to the GP or practice manager, if they are not around request that they phone you back and you want them to state the reasons in writing as to why they are refusing to let you register at the practice.
  2. If you do not get a call back and they are still refusing to let you register, bring them a copy of the above NHS guidance document which outlines that they should register you and refusing to register you because you are a traveller IS discrimination.
  3. Make sure you write down when you tried to register and any other details such as the name of the person/people you spoke to at the practice and any quotes as this will be useful later.
  4. If they are still refusing to register you, (and they might), write an email to the GP’s Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG).

Writing to your Clinical Commissioning Group:

You can find out which CCG they belong to on the NHS website by searching the name and/or address of the practice.  In the email or letter to the practice, state that you live on a boat without a home mooring and that the GP practice is refusing to register you as a patient. Attach a copy of the NHS guidance document above and why they shouldn’t have refused you. Please click here for template letter for CCG, amend as necessary and make a note of when you send things out.

Some CCGs might get back to you and are helpful but sometimes they may not get back to you. If you do not hear from the CCG or they are not helpful, you should write to NHS England. Again, email or send a letter to NHS England explaining that the GP practice has refused to register you, include dates of when you have contacted the GP practice and CCG; and that you are still being refused registration at the GP practice. Please see the attached template letter, amend as necessary and again make a note of when you send things out.

Contact details for NHS England:

Email: england.contactus@nhs.net

Post: NHS England, PO Box 16738, Redditch, B97 9PT

NHS England should get back to you and say that you should not have been refused registration and to tell you to tell the GP practice that NHS England said they should register you. Then send a letter or email to the GP practice saying you have talked to NHS England and that you shouldn’t have been refused registration at this practice and include a copy of the letter/ email from NHS England. Please click here for template letter for NHS england, amend as necessary and make a note of when you send things out.

You may be tempted to skip to the end and contact NHS England straight away however NHS England will expect you to go through the stages outlined above. So, go through step by step before you get to that point.

This worked for me, I got a letter from my GP practice saying I can register, I went to register and overall I have had no problems since registering.

This advice has been got through experience and research; please send your experience to nbtalondon@gmail.com so we can always improve our advice.

You can download this article here- getting a GP