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GPs warned to open list or lose out on enhanced services

By Joe Lepper

GPs with closed lists are being advised to consider reopening them before the start of the new contract or face losing out on enhanced services.

LMCs are issuing the advice after being warned by primary care organisations they will not commission enhanced services from practices with closed lists.

The contract states PCOs can 'reasonably' deny practices with closed lists enhanced services on the basis they are already struggling with their existing workload.

But practices with a closed list could find some of their existing work which is classed as an enhanced service taken away.

Ealing PCT has already told the LMC the 'consequences' for a practice of having a closed list is likely to be the loss of enhanced services.

Honorary secretary of Manchester LMC Dr Peter Fink said trusts in the area had issued the same advice. 'We will shortly be sending out advice to members that they should open up their lists otherwise they will be disadvantaged, which is the firm message we are getting.'

Berkshire and Buckinghamshire LMC has also advised GPs to reopen their lists where possible. LMC chair Dr John Rawlinson said there should not be a 'bias' against practices with closed lists.

'The problem is that those with closed lists are actually doing some of the work that is listed as enhanced services on existing patients and it's wrong to say they can only provide these services if they take more patients on,' he said.

Windsor, Ascot and Maidenhead PCT said it would be 'flexible' in deciding whether practices that were not taking on new patients could take on new work.

Head of primary care at the trust Margaret Mortlock said: 'If a practice can prove they can provide enhanced services then we will look at that.'

Some GPs with closed lists said they would refuse to open them up even if threatened with removal of enhanced service work. Gateshead GP Dr Alexander Liddle said: 'If the PCT came to us and said we would miss out on enhanced service funding then we would cry foul and urge them to not be so childish.'

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