Exclusive: DoH plans for A&E units to charge practices

Practices could be charged for their patients visiting A&E departments, according to an SHA letter.

North Staffordshire LMC obtained the letter from West Midlands SHA to PCT chief executives suggesting GMS practices be charged for each unreferred patient who has to visit an alternative health centre.

The alternative health centres could become ‘quasi-GMS’ providers in areas with the worst access, the letter advised. North Staffordshire is among the worst 10 per cent of PCTs for access in England.

As part of a national project to improve access, patients could be allowed to register at A&E wards and pharmacies as an alternative to GP practices.

According to the letter, ‘recharging’ would mean GMS practices would be charged for patients who are seen elsewhere.

PCT chief executives were sent the letter detailing ideas to improve access that the DoH’s National Implementation Team (NIT) would be discussing on upcoming visits to the area.

A spokesman for West Midlands SHA said: ‘The suggestions were part of the NIT’s terms of reference for their visits to the SHA and some of our PCTs. They were listed in our letter in order to provide information for our PCTs about the national project. These included issues and topics that could be potentially explored by the NIT during the project and visits.

‘This is at an early stage and there are a range of potential options that could be explored before any firm proposals are developed.’

North Staffordshire LMC chairman and GP Dr David Hughes said: ‘We are aware of some radical thoughts at strategic level that have been passed down to the PCT for their consideration.’

A DoH spokesman said that Dr David Colin-Thome, leader of the national project on access, did not want to comment on ‘such a local issue’ and that the proposals were still at ‘an early discussion stage’.

tom.ireland@haymarket.com

Comment below and tell us what you think

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

UK COVID-19 vaccination programme tracker

UK COVID-19 vaccination programme tracker

GPs across the UK are playing a leading role in the largest-ever NHS vaccination...

RCGP online exhibition celebrates women in general practice

RCGP online exhibition celebrates women in general practice

An online exhibition celebrating women’s contribution to general practice over the...

MPs back campaign against reforms that 'threaten fairness of fitness to practise cases'

MPs back campaign against reforms that 'threaten fairness of fitness to practise cases'

Plans to scrap the 'five-year rule' and categorise doctors with health concerns as...

GP appointments up 31% compared with pre-pandemic levels

GP appointments up 31% compared with pre-pandemic levels

General practice in England delivered 31% more appointments in June this year than...

COVID-19 vaccine map: Which CCGs have most fully-vaccinated adults?

COVID-19 vaccine map: Which CCGs have most fully-vaccinated adults?

Tens of millions of COVID-19 jabs have been administered across England, but progress...

RCGP demands emergency rescue package for 'crisis-torn' general practice

RCGP demands emergency rescue package for 'crisis-torn' general practice

A five-point rescue plan for general practice drawn up by the RCGP warns the profession...