GPC to outline boundary proposal

GP leaders have rejected all four of the DoH's options for scrapping practice boundaries and plan to propose a fifth solution to the government.

Ministers launched a consultation last month outlining four options that could be used to offer patients more choice.

These included allowing patients to register with any practice, but distinguish between local patients and patients registering further away; maintaining the requirement on GPs to make home visits to all patients, regardless of where they live; allowing people to register with two GP practices; or making PCTs responsible for home visiting arrangements.

But GPC chairman Dr Laurence Buckman said the committee did not think any of the DoH proposals were feasible.

He said the GPC proposals would be a 'collection of our previous thoughts on the matter', but would 'obviously include fuzzy borders'.

He said: 'If you read our previous document in January, you won't be very far off where we are now.

'What we are trying to do is use our suggestions on top of the DoH proposals because we don't think these four proposals will do what patients or politicians want.'

In its January report, Reforming General Practice Boundaries, the GPC proposed an overhaul of temporary resident arrangements to enable patients to 'seek the full range of GP services on an immediate basis when they are away from their registered practice more effectively than at present'.

Under the plans, GPs would offer to treat all unregistered patients on an ad hoc basis or as temporary residents, with a 'payment by results' system to pay for each episode of care.

The document also included plans to make boundaries more 'fuzzy' and use technology to provide remote consultations.

Dr Buckman also hinted that the GPC's 'fifth way' will urge employers to allow staff enough time off to visit a GP.

This would see 'many of the problems (of access) fall away', he said.

Earlier this month, a GP poll revealed more than half of GPs in England believe scrapping practice boundaries will be to the detriment of patients.

GPC boundary plans
GPC proposals set out in January:
  • Unregistered patients to be treated on 'ad hoc basis'.
  • Fuzzy boundaries.
  • Greater use of technology.

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