PCTs are 'abusing performer's lists' to target small practices

Senior Londonwide LMCs GP warns vague wording of performer's list leaves room for abuse.

Dr Tony Grewal
Dr Tony Grewal

PCTs are using performer's list rules to oust GPs and close unwanted practices, a senior London GP has warned.

Londonwide LMCs medical secretary Dr Tony Grewal called removal from lists the 'latest bogeyman' in PCTs' performance management arsenal.

With PCTs also publishing balanced scorecards and threatening a growing number of practices with breach of contract proceedings, GPs now face 'a three-pronged attack,' Dr Grewal said.

Performer's list regulations state doctors can be removed if they are 'unsuitable' or if there is doubt over the 'efficiency' of their services.

It is the vagueness of these regulations that allows PCTs to abuse them, said Dr Grewal.

'It is only the beginning. These (regulations) have been around since 2004 and PCTs are just starting to flex their muscles,' he said. 'Because it's worded vaguely, if a PCT thinks you are not providing what it wants it can get rid of you very easily.'

In recent years, the number of GPs removed from performer's lists in this way has grown from one a year to one every few months, he added. Small and single-handed practices across the capital are increasingly seen as unsustainable and have been targeted, said Dr Grewal.

GPC deputy chairman Dr Richard Vautrey said the BMA was unaware of this tactic, but urged PCTs to be sensible.

But he said: 'The reality of any small or single-handed practice is that they have been feeling very threatened by PCTs.'

An NHS London spokeswoman said individual PCTs must decide how to manage their performer's lists.

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