Lynne Abbess, partner of specialist medical law firm Hempsons, said PMS contracts belong to the partner whose name appears on them.
If that partner wants to retire and return to work or hand over to a new partner, they must negotiate a name change on the contract with the PCT.
Some PCTs may use the opportunity to disperse the list, or only consent to a name change if certain conditions are met, such as the practice agreeing to move to new premises, Ms Abbess said.
Ms Abbess said this situation is arising on a ‘daily basis' as PMS GPs come up to retirement, as PCTs are reluctant to perpetuate single-handed practices.
‘GPs may have little control of the situation,' she said.
‘The only certain way to get around this situation is to look at the alternative of exercising the right to switch to a GMS contract. But this is likely to have onerous financial implications,' she said.
Deputy GPC chairman Dr Richard Vautrey said this activity was ‘fairly widespread' across the country.