GP ‘list-cleansing’ drive could affect the vulnerable

GP ‘list-cleansing’ drive could affect the vulnerable

By Liz Lockhart

A report from ‘’ has rung alarm bells throughout the UK.  38,000 patients have been removed from GP lists overnight in Brent alone.  This is an unprecedented list-cleansing drive by the NHS managers in Brent.  The worry is that it could also be rolled out across the rest of the UK .

At the London Medical Council’s conference in London GPs called for a ‘fair national policy for list validation’.  In moves labelled as ‘appalling’ Dr. Tony Grewal, medical director of London-wide LMCs, explained that 38,000 patients had been removed.

‘As of last night, 38,000 patients in one Primary Care Trust have no longer got a registered GP.  11% of patients have been de-registered at a stroke’ said Dr Grewal.

‘This is a cynical attempt to take money out of primary care where it can do good, and putting it into the black hole of secondary care,’ he added.

Every patient who had not visited their surgery within the last six months and who failed to respond to two written notices were wiped from specific practices lists.  The moves were described as ‘morally bankrupt’ by Dr Grewal.

‘They are timing the mail shots (to patients) when people are out.  One batch was sent out at the end of December.  This is appalling and produces problems for practices and huge patient dissatisfaction,’ he added.

The vulnerable and elderly were being removed from lists he warned.  ‘The people who need us most are being thrown away by organisations that are financially, intellectually and morally bankrupt.’ Dr Grewal warned to a huge round of applause.

A spokesperson for NHS Brent said ‘We take our duty of care to real patients extremely seriously.  We are therefore planning to write once more to all the names and addresses that are removed from lists.

As Dr Grewal warned: it is the vulnerable and elderly who were being removed from these lists (at least in part.)  We must all feel concerned that this practice is prevented from spreading.  Who in our society is more vulnerable than the mentally ill? And we must remember that the elderly have special mental health needs. 

If this practice has been exposed in Brent then how long before it is rolled out across the rest of the country?  Treatment for mental health disorders is hard enough to obtain now, let us hope that these cuts does not make it any more difficult. 

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