Want to investigate GP patient lists?

UPDATE (Feb 24 2012): You can find GP surgery-level data on demographics and other contextual information on the NHS IC Indicators site.

We’ve been following developments related to GP patient lists and proposals to abolish GP boundaries for a while, and this week saw some particularly interesting developments .

Pule reported that Department of Health advisory body Primary Care Commissioning had issued guidance on “brutal new GP list cleansing targets next year”:

“[T]he guidance lists successful list-cleansing schemes and gives examples of targeted campaigns in South Gloucestershire, South West Essex and Berkshire West which resulted in the removal of 24,000 ghost patients.

“They include sending verification letters to all patients aged over 90 to 100 years and annually to all immigrants. If they do not respond, then these patients will be given a FP69 flag to inform their GP the patient will be removed from their list.

“They also say anyone who is out of the country for three months or more should be automatically struck off GP lists and that multi-occupancy dwellings should be targeted.”

Meanwhile Eastlondonlines reported on 2 of the 6 places chosen to pilot abolishing GP boundaries for a year from the beginning of April. These are: Continue reading

Lead: NHS redundancy costs at a local level

The Independent reports that Department of Health estimates “show £616.6 million accounted for in possible redundancy costs for 2011/12″. Sounds like a potential avenue for local digging…

So here’s a quick advanced search for “redundancy costs” 2011/12 site:nhs.uk – can you adapt it to find a story?

And can you find the original DoH data?

Lead: opening up clinical health data – who benefits?

Tim Davies analyses the announcement to open up more government data and raises concern over its motivations and implications:

“The first measures in the Cabinet Office’s paper are explicitly not about open data as public data, but are about the restricted sharing of personal medical records with life-science research firms – with the intent of developing this sector of the economy. With a small nod to “identifying specified datasets for open publication and linkage”, the proposals are more centrally concerned with supporting the development of a Clinical Practice Research Datalink (CPRD) which will contain interlinked ‘unidentifiable, individual level’ health records, by which I interpret the ability to identify a particular individual with some set of data points recorded on them in primary and secondary care data, without the identity of the person being revealed.

“The place of this in open data measures raises a number of questions, such as whether the right constituencies have been consulted on these measures and why such a significant shift in how the NHS may be handing citizens personal data is included in proposals unlikely to be heavily scrutinised by patient groups? In the past, open data policies have been very clear that ‘personal data’ is out of scope – and the confusion here raises risks to public confidence in the open data agenda. Leaving this issue aside for the moment, we also need to critically explore the evidence that the release of detailed health data will “reinforce the UK’s position as a global centre for research and analytics and boost UK life sciences”. In theory, if life science data is released digitally and online, then the firms that can exploit it are not only UK firms – but the return on the release of UK citizens personal data could be gained anywhere in the world where the research skills to work with it exist.”

An interesting analysis – can you add more?

Question: How many walk-in centres are being closed?

The Yorkshire Post reports on the closure of an NHS walk-in centre in Leeds with a brief mention of wider plans.

“NHS Leeds said the Department of Health did not intend to continue delivering services from commuter walk-in centres and this means the Leeds centre will close. Centres in Manchester, Newcastle and London have already been axed.

“It will shutdown on November 30 and is the latest service in West Yorkshire to be hit by cuts. Already opening hours have been cut at other centres in Halifax, Todmorden and Dewsbury.”

A quick search finds walk-in centres also closing in Nottinghamshire.

An FOI to the Department of Health asking for a list of planned walk-in closures with dates and full addresses may help paint a national pattern. However, the decision to close lies with Primary Care Trusts (PCTs) and many appear to have held or be holding consultations, so it would be worth also looking into how many consultations are still being held. This advanced search gives some clues.

Are you investigating this? Let us know how we can help.