LMCs demand NHS England apology over 'destructive' fraud report

LMCs have called for a public apology from NHS England over concerns that 'it knowingly brought general practice into disrepute' in a report on bribery and fraud in the health service.

GPs at the England LMCs conference in London condemned the document, which they said wrongly implied ‘widespread’ fraud existed within general practice and created a ‘destructive narrative’, with one GP calling the paper a ‘witch hunt’.

The NHS England report claimed there was a 'realistic probability' that GP practices are defrauding the health service of £88m a year.

At the time of the document's release, the BMA's GP committee chair warned that extrapolating figures about 'economic crime' without clear evidence was unacceptable.

GP reputation

A motion backed by LMCs requires GPC England to raise a formal complaint with NHS England and the secretary of state for health and social care, and take similar in future when the reputation of general practice is wrongly attacked.

It also calls on the GPC to work with NHS England to tackle the ‘offensive culture’ towards general practice that led to the claims.

Leicestershire and Rutland LMC representative Dr Anu Rao told the conference: ‘This is nothing but another insult to the already demoralised profession. As GPs we strive to provide the best high quality healthcare to all of our patients and we do this under extreme pressures.

‘We need to condemn NHS England for bringing general practice into disrepute by making false acusations and demand an immediate apology for undermining our integrity.'

Toxic narrative

Kent GP Dr Zishan Syed accused NHS England of pursuing a ‘toxic narrative’ about GPs, which he said threatened to destory the NHS.

Deputy chair of GPC England Dr Mark Sanford-Wood said: '99.9% of GPs and their staff go to work every day with one thought in mind and that's to deliver the best possible care they can. For NHSE to extrapolate [those exceptional cases] and to tarnish the entire profession is unacceptable and it needs to stop right now'.

Read the motion in full:

That conference with reference to the recent NHS England strategy document on bribery and fraud:
i. condemns deliberate fraud but similarly condemns NHS England for producing a report implying widespread fraud exists in general practice
ii. considers NHS England to have knowingly brought general practice into disrepute and demands a public apology
iii. insists GPC England must raise a formal complaint with NHS England and the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care when such destructive narratives occur
iv. mandates GPC England to work with NHS England to address the offensive culture in NHS England which has allowed general practice to be referred to in this way.

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