MPS says no scope for ‘gentlemen’s agreements’ with existing rules

The claim by health minister Ben Bradshaw that practices operate ‘gentlemen’s agreements’ not to take on each other’s patients has been questioned by the Medical Protection Society (MPS).

Ben Bradshaw
Ben Bradshaw

Dr Stephanie Bown, MPS director of policy and communications, said: ‘There are stringent regulations in place that ensure that doctors act fairly and in the interests of their patients when deciding who they will and will not accept on their practice list.

‘GPs do not remove patients from their lists lightly. They must have reasonable grounds and must give specific reasons for their decision. There is also a burden on practices to explain the reasons for their decision to their PCT, and, except in exceptional circumstances, to the patient.

‘All practices have a patient list which maybe open, or closed to new patients. A practice with an open list must accept any new patient who applies unless they have reasonable grounds for refusal.

‘The refusal of an application from a patient who lives outside the geographic area of the practice would be considered reasonable.’

MPS fact sheet on removing patients

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