Why is Healthwatch Lincolnshire bringing this to your attention?
In the spring of 2018 BBC Look North approached Healthwatch Lincolnshire with concerns from a patient that had been removed from a GP Practice under the 8 day removal process, without what they felt was an acceptable notice period. We discussed with the BBC reporter various reasons why patients may be removed from a GP Practice list and was clear that as this appeared to be a ‘one off’ incident it was difficult for Healthwatch Lincolnshire to make any specific comments.
At the time BBC Look North did run the above story, during which they asked any patients who had experienced similar problems to contact them. By September 2018, BBC Look North had been contacted by a small group of patients all experiencing similar problems ie removed within 8 days without being told exactly why. Whilst the patients accepted they had queried with the doctor their own diagnosis, treatment and ongoing care (or that of a loved one), they did not believe their behaviour warrantied being removed (within 8 days) as a patient from that surgery. In addition, the patients had evidence that in their 8 day removal letter there was no explanation as to why they were being removed.
How does Healthwatch Lincolnshire feel this affects patients?
Healthwatch Lincolnshire is concerned that:
- Patients who live in rural areas may be greatly disadvantaged by having to travel long distances to a new service.
- Patients who are vulnerable eg with a mental health illness or disability may be traumatised by the process of having to move to a new practice.
- Patients who are disadvantaged may decide to limit the amount of medical assistance they receive due to the barriers listed above, with the possibility of this leaving them with failing health.
Response from Dr Kieran Sharrock, Medical Director Lincolnshire LMC
Removing patients from your list of registered patients
Healthwatch Lincolnshire has received a number of complaints from patients about being removed from GP practice lists. Healthwatch Lincolnshire has done some research and has found that some of the removals were done for inappropriate reasons, and that some practices have removed more patients than would generally be expected.
Healthwatch has asked the LMC to remind practices of the circumstances where patients can be removed from lists, and the proper process for doing this.
The LMC have created an information sheet for practices which is available on the LMC website.