Third ‘reply’ by Department of Health to my warnings about problems with abolishing GP boundaries

In my last email to Jeremy Hunt and health ministers, copied to the Health Select Committee, I wrote:

So far you have evaded the issues I have raised in my previous emails. I am saying that this policy is unworkable, that in some cases it is unsafe; overall, it will impact negatively on the functioning of general practice. If harm comes to patients because of this policy and you and others have wilfully neglected a proper risk assessment, will you be accountable?

I require the following by way of response:

A. I challenge you and your officials at the Department of Health to respond, point by point, to my Submission to the Health Select Committee.

B. In the Department of Health’s media launch of the so-called ‘pilot’ in December 2011, we read: “The pilot, which will begin in April 2012 and last for one year, will also come as a relief to people who are moving home and wish to remain with their preferred practice, and families who would like a practice near to their children’s school.”

This detail of families registering at a practice near their children’s school is repeated in the evaluation Proposal submitted by Professor Mays in May 2012.

So you think this is a good idea? I challenge you and your associates at the Department of Health to answer the following questions about this particular idea:

1. What benefit accrues to a family if they register with a practice near their children’s school? Why would they want to do it?

2. How would this work practically? (Details please, full details of the mechanics of this).

3. Are there any risks or problems with this proposal?

*

This is the ‘reply’:

Our ref: DE00000834110
Dear Dr Farrelly,Thank you for your further correspondence of 13 January to the ministers of the Department of Health about the removal of GP boundaries.  I have been asked to reply.I am afraid that there is nothing that I can add to my colleague’s previous replies of 20 September and 23 October (our refs: DE00000807059 and DE00000813924).It is not always convenient for people to see a GP in the area in which they live.  Alternative arrangements were trialled in a limited number of areas and the results have been evaluated and passed to NHS England.  It is for NHS England to decide whether to implement the arrangements on a wider basis.  NHS England can be contacted at:NHS England
PO Box 16738
Redditch B97 9PT

Tel: 0300 311 22 33
Email: england.contactus@nhs.net

I note that you have contacted the Department of Health previously on a number of occasions about this issue.  The information given to you by my colleagues is the most up-to-date and accurate available, and there is nothing further I can add to this.  The Government’s position remains as set out in previous letters.I am sorry if this is not the reply that you were hoping for, but as there is nothing further that the Department can add, we must now consider this matter to be closed.  Unless you raise a new question, any further letters sent to the Department will be logged but may not receive a reply.Yours sincerely,Charles Podschies
Ministerial Correspondence and Public Enquiries
Department of Health
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