Exclusive: Four-fifths of GP lists open but practices struggling

GPs are struggling to keep their lists open in the face of rising registrations, falling incomes and fear of alienating their primary care organisations (PCOs), according to a GP newspaper survey.

Photograph: istockphoto
Photograph: istockphoto

84% of 320 GPs who responded to the survey said their practice list was open. But many are struggling to stay open with inadequate premises and income.

One GP said: ‘We are a GMS practice with a small MPIG, our list size is growing and it is difficult to produce enough income to staff our practice.

‘But closing our list will make the PCT hostile. I cannot currently see a solution to our viability.’

One GP said his practice list had grown by 25% in six years while permanent doctor time grew by only 14%.

Some practices are staying open for fear of losing enhanced service payments.

One GP said: ‘We closed our list for nine months in 2007, but our list has grown since. If we close again we will lose enhanced services pay. With reduced income we cannot afford to hire another doctor.’

Many primary care organisations now bar practices from declaring their lists ‘open-but-full’, an option introduced in 2004 to protect practices from having to register patients under unreasonable pressure.

The 2006 White Paper Our health, our care, our say proposed banning open-but-full lists. The DoH says they have ‘no legal basis’ and are ‘against the spirit’ of the GMS contract.


  • Read this week’s GP dated 20 March for the full version of this story
  • Are you struggling to keep your practice list open?

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