When the Pilot looking into the boundary-free model of general practice was launched at the end of December 2011, the Department of Health press release quoted a Westminster GP as follows:
“This initiative will mean that commuters working in the heart of London will in future have far greater flexibility around their choice of GP, enabling some to choose to see a GP closer to where they work.
“I welcome this exciting initiative which the Department of Health is resourcing as it offers patients greater access to NHS care at a time and place that is convenient to them.”
I subsequently contacted this GP and asked a few questions; she responded to my email, but avoided answering my questions.
Yesterday I noticed that her practice was not offering to register patients outside their practice area. I rang to check and was told that if I did not live in Westminster I would not be able to register.
Yesterday morning, Friday, I visited two patients at home. Both were housebound. They lived within 2 minutes walk of each other. Seven minutes brisk walking from the practice. Two birds with one stone…
In the afternoon, a carer came to the practice to thank me for my involvement with a patient with dementia over the past few years who has died. This person lived 90 seconds’ walk from the practice. This made it possible to visit frequently, and to support the patient, carers, family.
The proponents of the abolishing GP practice boundaries ignore this issue of proximity to the practice. For them geography does not matter. Morons, I say. Andy Burnham, Andrew Lansley, the Department of Health, NHS England, The King’s Fund, The Patients Association, and all the journalists who repeat their spin.
The new flagship policy to register patients outside a GP practice area was launched earlier this week, on 5/1/15.
I have tried to find out which practices are offering this option, but have not managed to do so. This is the NHS Choices page I have found on this issue.
So I have sent NHSEngland London a message on Twitter.