GPs urged to boycott Department of Health “register where you work” pilot scheme

Four Local Medical Committees (LMCs) in London have advised GP practices not to take part in practice boundary pilots, over fears they could trigger ‘unacceptable’ cuts to services.

The idea is for patients to have better access to their GP by not being restricted by practice boundaries.

Under the scheme, patients would be able to register near their place of work if they wish.

But GPs in the City and Hackney, and Tower Hamlets PCT areas received a letter last week advising them not to take part in the Department of Health-led pilots, which were also due to roll out in Westminster, Nottingham and Manchester this month.

The letter was signed by the chairs of all four LMCs covering the pilot area - City and East London LMC chairman Dr Kambiz Boomla, City and Hackney LMC chairwoman Dr Deborah Colvin, Newham LMC chairman Dr Prakash Chandra and Tower Hamlets LMC chairman Dr Sella Shanmugadasan.

“The PCTs are being given no extra money to cover the extra prescribing or secondary referral costs so it will have to come out of their budgets for their local populations – this means local people will lose out,” said Dr Colvin, who is a GP Partner at the Lawson Practice at St Leonard’s in Nuttall Street, Hoxton.

The GP leaders have slammed the �12.93 per patient funding for these consultations as “pathetic” and warned the increased expense would force the PCTs to cut services for existing patients in two of the most deprived PCT areas in the country.

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“They haven’t thought about the extra admin costs that practice will generate to claim for the extra patients,” added Dr Colvin.

“Of course they haven’t thought about the difference in work load between looking after a patient you know and whose records you have versus someone you don’t know.

“The reason we are so concerned is that it is going to cost money to run this scheme at a time when money in the NHS is being decreased, and this cost will have to come from providing care to other patients,” she added.

“This means that money will flow from the costs looking after the unwell to pay for looking after the fitter members of society.”

The LMCs urged practices not to take part in the pilots unless the government agreed to fund the secondary care, community care and prescribing costs which arose due to the pilots.