GPs told not to reveal appointment detail

The GPC has advised practices not to hand over information on opening hours and available appointments to PCTs.

Richard Vautrey
Richard Vautrey

In a recent letter, NHS director general Mark Britnell asked all PCTs to begin an audit of available appointments for subsequent monthly monitoring.

GPC negotiator Dr Chaand Nagpaul said the letter came as a complete surprise to the GPC, which thought the discussion was purely about hours.

The GPC's legal team has advised that practices did not have to hand over information for the audit.

A spokesman for the GPC's legal team said: 'To demand information from practices on the basis of the introduction of a directed enhanced service that has not yet been agreed or implemented appears to go beyond reasonableness.'

GPC vice chairman Dr Richard Vautrey said the audit gave an impression of a lack of trust and did not reflect practices' abilities or the services they provide.

'It shows that the government has no idea of how many practices offer extended hours,' he added.

Dr Nagpaul described the audit as 'meaningless' because practices regularly change their appointments according to demand and the skill mix of staff available.

The BMA has also published a quality framework fact sheet to clarify that the government ignored its expert panel and the BMA when it rejected adding osteoporosis and other clinical areas to the framework.

The response comes after health secretary Alan Johnson accused the BMA of 'propaganda' and denied there was a plan to include osteoporosis points.

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