Patient choice may be part of GP contract

The DoH is considering changing the GMS contract to make it obligatory for GPs to offer patients a choice of provider.

Health secretary Andrew Lansley: plans to increase patient choice (Photograph: Pete Hill)

In a consultation document on 'greater choice and control' in the NHS, the DoH states that it is 'considering consulting the BMA' on the changes.

The consultation was published alongside plans for an 'information revolution' to support patient choice.

It would 'require general practices to offer their patients a choice of healthcare provider when they are referred for their first outpatient appointment'.

The contract would also change to ensure 'GPs register patients regardless of where they live if their registration list is open', effectively removing practice boundaries.

In a summary of responses to a survey on GP choice, 77 per cent of respondents support plans to scrap practice boundaries, but 70 per cent oppose it.

The report says 'many people support the idea in principle but were concerned that the issues would be difficult to overcome'.

GPC deputy chairman Dr Richard Vautrey said he had not heard of specific proposals to enforce choice using the contract.

'Most patients want to be seen at a local hospital and some just look puzzled when you start offering a choice,' he said.

He called for the DoH to 'listen to our concerns' about removing practice boundaries before pressing ahead with any proposals.

Have you registered with us yet?

Register now to enjoy more articles and free email bulletins


Already registered?

Sign in

Just published

Clinical trials: Microscope in a lab

GPs could be incentivised to recruit patients onto commercial clinical trials

GPs could be offered incentives to recruit patients onto commercial clinical trials...

Talking General Practice logo

Podcast: How many GPs do we need for safe general practice, pay restoration, the state of premises

Talking General Practice looks at safe working limits and the number of GPs we need...

Stethoscope and a computer

EMIS to keep panic button after outcry from GPs

EMIS, one of the main GP IT system providers, has backtracked on plans to phase out...

Health minister Lord Markham

Health minister Lord Markham: How we will support GPs to offer patients greater choice

Health minister Lord Markham explains what the government's plans for using the NHS...

Patient receives the flu vaccine

Flu vaccination campaign to return to pre-pandemic cohorts this year

This year's flu vaccination campaign is set to be reduced after it was expanded during...

Plant-based diet

Vegan and vegetarian diets can play key role in reducing cardiovascular risk, study finds

Plant-based diets can play a significant role in lowering the risk of stroke and...