Ban on private GP lists to halt 'blurring between NHS and private services'

GP practices will be banned from holding private patient lists from April under the new five-year contract to prevent 'increasing blurring' of the line between NHS and private primary care services.

GPC chair Dr Richard Vautrey
GPC chair Dr Richard Vautrey

Under the £2.8bn contract deal it will ‘no longer be legal for any NHS GP provider - either directly or via proxy - to advertise or host private paid for GP services that fall within the scope of NHS-funded primary medical services’ from April 2019.

The BMA has made clear that reforms relate only ‘to the equivalent of core GMS activity being done privately’, with other private work such as HGV medicals unaffected. NHS England will consult on how the rule can be extended to other NHS providers, including hospitals and pharmacies.

The move could strip hundreds of thousands of pounds in funding from some GP practices that operate private patient lists alongside their standard NHS list. Practices have until now been allowed to offer core GP services privately to any patient who is not on their NHS list.

Private lists

The BMA says that 'hardly any' NHS GP practices operate private patient lists in parallel - but GPonline reported earlier this week that growing numbers were expressing an interest in the move as a way to boost income after years of pay erosion. Specialist medical accountant Laurence Slavin told GPonline that a private list of just 75 patients could generate around £75,000 in additional income per year.

He added: ‘GPs are looking for alternative sources of income. But it’s not just about the money, it’s about the quality of the work and enjoying the work. Private appointments can often be longer and more relaxed and involve continuity of care. GPs find they enjoy working this way.’

GPC chair Dr Richard Vautrey said: ‘While the BMA represents the breadth of the medical profession, including private practitioners, we have been concerned at the increasing blurring in recent years between NHS and private GP services offered to patients, particularly with the opportunities digital technology is providing. This change will provide clarity for patients about what treatment is available on the NHS and what they have the option of paying for privately.’

The changes come as part of a major overhaul of GP services through a five-year contract deal that the BMA has called the 'biggest overhaul of services for 15 years'.

Dr Vautrey said the deal 'provides a real boost and backing for NHS general practice, which the BMA believes is still the best model for both the profession and patients’.

Click here to read more from GPonline on the five-year GP contract

Have you registered with us yet?

Register now to enjoy more articles and free email bulletins

Register

Already registered?

Sign in

Follow Us:

Just published

GMC tells BMA to name the doctors responsible for bullying and harassment

GMC tells BMA to name the doctors responsible for bullying and harassment

Senior BMA representatives could face investigation over harassment and bullying...

BMA sexism report backs overhaul to boost representation of women

BMA sexism report backs overhaul to boost representation of women

The BMA should use quotas and minimum thresholds for at least the next decade to...

Key recommendations from the BMA sexism investigation

Key recommendations from the BMA sexism investigation

A damning report into sexism at the BMA, conducted by top barrister Daphne Romney...

Medicines export ban widened as drug shortages continue

Medicines export ban widened as drug shortages continue

The government has added four medicines to the list of products wholesalers are banned...

Damning report on BMA sexism condemns 'failure of leadership'

Damning report on BMA sexism condemns 'failure of leadership'

Whistleblowers have spoken of feeling vindicated after a damning report condemned...

Flawed GP consultation data could distort access targets, BMA warns

Flawed GP consultation data could distort access targets, BMA warns

Flawed data on GP consultations could leave practices facing unfair access targets,...