Practice boundary reforms delayed until January, NHS England reveals

Plans to allow practices to register patients from outside their local area will be delayed until January, NHS England has revealed.

NHS England: boundary reforms delayed
NHS England: boundary reforms delayed

GP contract reforms agreed for 2014/15 set out plans to introduce this flexibility from October, but NHS England officials have said area teams ‘need more time’.

Plans to relax GP practice boundaries to allow out-of-area patients to register were intended to boost GP access, for example by helping commuters register at a practice near work.

But the GPC called for a delay in the rollout of the scheme, warning that local areas must have systems in place to provide care for patients registering with practices away from where they live at times when they were too ill to travel and required home visits.

GPC backs delay

GPC deputy chairman Dr Richard Vautrey told GP: ‘It is good that we have been listened to.’

He said the delay would allow area teams to put in place systems for coping with these patients when they were unable to travel to the practices they were registered at.

Area teams may wish to commission out-of-hours organisations to provide cover, or set up enhanced services to fund local practices to do so.

‘We need every practices in every area to have clarity about what arrangements will be in place for these patients,’ said Dr Vautrey.

Local services must be ready

‘Every part of the country has to have a service in place before any patient can be allowed to register out of their local area.’

An NHS England spokesman said: ‘This has been an ambitious piece of work designed to increase the flexibility that patients have in choosing their GP.

‘With such a change, we have to be completely assured that robust arrangements are in place across the country should patients who register with a GP outside their area need urgent in-hours primary medical care at or near home.

‘This has been a big undertaking and we have taken the decision that more time is needed to ensure these arrangements are fully bedded-in - a decision that has been taken in the best interests of GP practices and patients.’

Have you registered with us yet?

Register now to enjoy more articles and free email bulletins

Register

Already registered?

Sign in

Follow Us:

Just published

Walk-in GP services divert more patients from A&E but may not be cost-effective

Walk-in GP services divert more patients from A&E but may not be cost-effective

Convenient GP services can significantly reduce pressure on hospital A&E departments...

Practices face increasing risk of six-figure cash penalties, accountants warn

Practices face increasing risk of six-figure cash penalties, accountants warn

GP practices are increasingly likely to trigger six-figure financial penalties under...

Wide-ranging overhaul of GP bureaucracy promised amid spiralling practice workload

Wide-ranging overhaul of GP bureaucracy promised amid spiralling practice workload

Revalidation, referral processes, coding of patient data and letters required from...

Recognising and referring domestic violence and abuse

Recognising and referring domestic violence and abuse

A social enterprise is helping to train staff in GP practices to support women affected...

GPs 'in the dark' over pension tax trap support for this year

GPs 'in the dark' over pension tax trap support for this year

GPs remain in the dark over how a stop-gap offer from NHS England to pay off pension...

Network DES will cost GPs money and threaten independent contractor status, warn LMCs

Network DES will cost GPs money and threaten independent contractor status, warn LMCs

A group of LMCs has warned it 'cannot recommend' GPs sign up to revised plans for...