What could be the reasons for a new employer asking about General Practitioner details when I am about to sign a permanent contract with them?
Is this usual practice ?
They are asking for GP Name, Phone and Address.
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Yes, it's usual practise. Although the information won't likely be used, they need the information in case of emergency.
Imagine if you collapse at work and are taken to hospital. Asking your colleagues if you're taking a certain medication may result in a no response when in fact, you are and what the hospital is about to give you will react badly to that.
Your GP has all information on whether you are as well as your entire medical history.
As an aside, it could also be part of the checks for the "right to work" in the UK check that all UK companies are now required to make. If you aren't registered at a GP then that's a warning flag for them.