BMA proposes fifth option to practice boundaries consultation

Widening boundaries to give patients greater choice when deciding where to register has been suggested by the BMA as an alternative to the government's plans to remove practice boundaries completely.

Dr Buckman: GPs worried about practice boundary proposals
Dr Buckman: GPs worried about practice boundary proposals

The recommendation is part of the 'fifth option' the BMA outlined in its response to the DoH's consultation on removing practice boundaries, which closed on Friday.

Other measures the BMA suggest include:

  • Formalising the process of operating ‘flexible’ boundaries to allow existing patients who move just outside a practice boundary area to stay with their GP
  • Simplifying the system of opening and closing practice lists
  • Increasing the use of remote consultations
  • Reforming the temporary residents arrangements in order to enable unregistered patients to book appointments at any GP surgery in England on an ad hoc basis

Dr Laurence Buckman, chairman of the GPC, said: ‘GPs are extremely worried about the proposals to reform practice boundaries being put forward in the government’s consultation, because they will damage patient care.

'We do, however, want to address the needs of the one in 10 patients who aren’t currently satisfied with the care they receive, and that’s why we’ve put forward a fifth proposal for the government to consider.'

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