Delegates at the 2011 LMCs conference backed a motion calling for the GPC to negotiate a fair system for validating practice lists. They went on to vote in favour of a rider instructing the GPC ‘to obtain back payments to practices for those patients erroneously deducted’.
Presenting the motion, Londonwide LMCs' Dr Tony Grewal said list cleaning initiatives were a real threat to GPs. Dr Grewal warned that initiatives were already happening in some areas, with up to 30% of genuine patients removed from some GP lists in London.
He warned that PCTs were removing the most vulnerable patients from lists without going to the proper lengths to alert patients or GPs as to what was happening.
PCTs ‘are timing the mailshots for times when people are unlikely to respond’ Dr Grewal added, and letters are written only in English.
‘Patients who end up off your list are the elderly, the frail, those without English as a first language.’ Dr Grewal said: ‘It produces problems for practices in terms of workload. It produces huge patient dissatisfaction, it damages things.’
Getting patients back onto lists is also fraught with difficulty, as ‘criteria to get a patient back on the list are not on the regulations’, Dr Grewal said.
Dr Patrick Keating, from Enfield LMC, said that list cleansing had resulted in nearly 10% of his patients being cut from his list without warning.
Local colleagues, he said, had seen between 2 to 8% of their lists cut. This list cutting ‘caused great distress to patients’, Dr Keating said.