Conservative call for London GP access overhaul rejected by GPC

Calls from a Conservative member of the London Assembly for Londoners to be able to book GP appointments at any practice in the city show a 'complete lack of understanding' of quality general practice, GP leaders have warned.

In a report published last week, Conservative London Assembly member Andrew Boff set out recommendations to speed up access to GP appointments.

Londoners should be able to book appointments online at any practice in the capital, the report suggested, 'extending patient choice and avoiding over-long waits'.

Patients in the capital should be given the option of dual registration - signing up with a GP practice near home and another near work, for example, the report suggested.

GP access

GPs should also offer walk-in clinics early and late in the day so that 'working Londoners who do wish to see a GP where they are registered can do so without missing a day's work'.

Mr Boff said recommendations in the report were modelled on pilot schemes in parts of London where 'primary care access hubs' allow patients across groups of local practices improved access to extended hours GP appointments.

He said: 'It is grossly unfair that anyone should be forced to take time off work to see a doctor. Given that anyone can book a hotel across the other side of the world at the click of a button, why should booking a GP across London be any different?

'The technology exists to create an online booking system that would maximise the availability of appointments across the capital. We need to move away from the outdated model that restricts people to their local GP and embrace choice and flexibility for Londoners.'

GP registered list

But GPC deputy chairman Dr Richard Vautrey dismissed the proposals. 'This shows a complete lack of understanding of the fundamental importance the GP registered list plays in delivering excellent GP care and the sustainability of the NHS,' he told GPonline.

'The value of the registered list which enables practices to provide holistic and continuity of care was recognised by [NHS England chief executive] Simon Stevens and the Five-Year Forward View as being essential for any future models of care.

'The last thing Londoners want is a fragmented and potentially less safe GP service which undermines and potentially puts at risk the practices serving their family and local community.'

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