Named GP role not governed by patient choice

Patients aged over 75 will not be able to select which GP becomes the 'named clinician' responsible for overseeing their care, a health minister has confirmed.

Lord Howe: patients over 75 will be allocated a named GP
Lord Howe: patients over 75 will be allocated a named GP

Under the GMS contract deal for 2014/15, a named GP will be made responsible for all patients over 75.

In response to a parliamentary question, health minister Lord Howe said practices had a duty to do their best to accommodate patients’ wishes if they expressed a preference as to which GP was named responsible for their care.

But he confirmed that practices would retain control of allocating GPs to patients.  ‘The most appropriate GP will be assigned to each patient aged 75 and over based upon individual needs,’ he said. ‘Each practice will need to determine the most appropriate way of allocating named GPs to their patients.’

GPC deputy chairman Dr Richard Vautrey backed the minister’s comments, made in response to Independent Labour peer Lord Stoddart of Swindon.

Dr Vautrey said that patients allocated to one GP would still be able to see other doctors within their practice. ‘Simply having a named GP doesn’t prevent them from seeing any GP,’ he said. ‘It’s not about an individual GP providing all the care.’

He said it was important that practices retained the ability to allocate named GPs to patients because it would be ‘impractical if a particular GP carried the whole burden for a practice’ because they were popular.

‘The named clinician role is about making sure someone in the practice has ultimate oversight. In the majority of practices this happens already.’

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