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

Link: “Open but full” GP lists

The BMJ reports on the announcement of plans to “remove incentives for general practices to have “open but full” patient lists”. It explains:

“Currently if a practice wants to close its patient list and stop accepting new patients it risks losing the right to provide additional and enhanced services. As a result some practices keep their list open but stop accepting new patients, declaring their list “open but full.”

“This term is not legally recognised within the contractual arrangements for GPs and is confusing to patients, the health department has said.

“… The department also plans to give practices more say over the closure period and allow practices to reopen their lists when they choose, subject to a notice period. However, practices will no longer be able to open or close their lists according to growth or contraction of their patient population, the so called “ping pong” arrangements.

GPs’ patient lists are an issue we’ve covered previously on HMI Health. In September we published data on patient lists (we now have national data covering 4 years) and in January we profiled the One GP’s Protest blog, which talked about the problems with registration policy and the move to remove boundaries to GP practices, the scheme which these announcements are intended to support.

If you want to help investigate either patient lists or boundaries, get in touch.