Warning to GPs & public about ‘Choose Your GP Practice’ scheme

The ‘Choose Your GP Practice’ scheme started on 5 January 2015. Under this scheme GP practices can register patients who do not live in their practice area. This is voluntary. The practice does not have to visit or care for these patients if they are sick at home and unable to get to the practice. According to the scheme, NHS England area teams will have put in place cover for these patients local to where they live for in hours urgent care.

In London, this does not seem to have happened. I spoke to 3 separate area NHS 111 teams and none of them were aware of the new scheme and none of them had a list of local GPs that would offer patients not registered locally. Their advice to patients in this situation is to go to a walk in centre or A+E. One of the supervisors said that if someone required an urgent home visit that they would call SOS doctors (a provider I have not heard of) and send them; they would have to pay for this service and they would charge the registered GP practice for this call. This did not seem likely, but it gives you the idea of the shambles we are in.

So if you are thinking of registering out of area patients, make sure they check if there is robust cover where they live, otherwise they will be left without primary care cover if they are ill and unable to access their registered practice.

See my opinion piece in Pulse.

See my video on this issue.

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