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GPs wrongly accused of breaches over 'full' lists

NHS managers are wrongly accusing GPs of breaking their contract if they tell new patients their list is 'full', GPC negotiators claim.

Strategic health authorities and primary care organisations are making the threats in an effort to stop GPs turning patients away when their list is not officially closed.

But under the new GP contracts, PMS and GMS practices do not have to close their list in order to refuse patients.

Practices can say their list is 'full', which allows them to refuse patients providing it is on 'reasonable and non-discriminatory' grounds and they send a written explanation within two weeks. They still have to accept forced allocations.

GPC chair Dr John Chis-holm refused to reveal which authorities had issued the advice, but said it was 'totally misleading'. He also attacked managers for telling GPs to carry on providing services for free, even if their PCO had failed to commission them

to do work as an enhanced

service.

'Again, we have clear guidance on this – it is incorrect advice,' Dr Chisholm said.

Dr Charles Zuckerman, secretary of Birmingham LMC, said two PCTs in the

region had confronted GPs over 'full' lists but backtracked after the LMC intervened.

Dr Rob Barnett, secretary of Liverpool LMC, said: 'We are only beginning to enter the fun and games with this.'

Dr Ken Aswani, professional executive committees chair for the NHS Alliance, said: 'This is new territory and there is a lot of uncertainty over certain stances.'

By Ian Cameron

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