Practices urged to sue if PCTs reject patient survey appeals

Practices should sue their PCT if their patient survey appeals are rejected, a senior member of the GPC has said.

'Significant numbers' of practices appealed against the results of this year's survey, according to the GPC.

But the early indications are that most will fail. A snapshot survey of PCTs by GP found that where decisions have been made, just 6 per cent of appeals have been successful so far.

Ten PCTs were asked how many GPs appealed and how many were successful. Of four that had completed the process, two rejected all appeals.

NHS Cornwall rejected all 22 appeals it received, while NHS Oxfordshire rejected six.

Of the other two PCTs, NHS Brighton and Hove received 12 appeals and upheld two, while NHS Dorset received 24 and upheld two.

Dr Grant Ingrams, secretary of GPC West Midlands, urged GPs to sue their PCT for breach of contract if they think their survey results are wrong.

'Just because the PCT says your appeal wasn't successful, it doesn't mean you are wrong.

'We need a GP to successfully sue, making them think through processes properly.'

GPC negotiator Dr Beth McCarron-Nash said she had heard reports that 'many appeals have been upheld'. She urged GPs who have not yet appealed to do so.

'I would advise GPs to go through the usual appeals process and if they are still unhappy, contact the GPC.'

Detail of the first successful 2008/9 patient survey appeal emerged earlier this month.

Dr David Henderson, a GP in Hove, East Sussex, had his score for advance booking (PE8) increased from 53 per cent to 67 per cent. NHS Brighton and Hove admitted the practice's results were significantly lower than in 2007/8 (see box).

Dr Henderson organised an alternative survey soon after receiving the disputed results.


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