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Independents' Day

Minister to look into disagreement over list closure prompted by Pulse blog

A health minister has stepped into the row over a Pulse blogger’s informal closure of his patient list over patient safety, after the GP was threatened with a breach notice.

An MP raised in Parliament the case of Dr Hadrian Moss, a GP in Kettering, who closed his list because of fears over patient safety after following advice given in the GPC’s new guide to managing workload pressures, as first reported by Pulse.

Dr Moss said that patient safety was at risk if he didn’t close his list, after the retirement of a partner at the practice had left it short of GPs.

However, after reading about the incident in Pulse, NHS England threatened Dr Moss with a breach notice, warning that the GPC advice - which states GPs could informally close lists without applying for area team permission as long as they have good reason and were not discriminating against any patient - was incorrect.

In a health questions session today in the House of Commons, Philip Hollobone, the Conservative MP for Kettering, raised the issue with health minister Dr Dan Poulter.

He said: ‘Following the retirement of a senior partner who they have been unable to replace, Dr Hadrian Moss of the Dryland GP surgery in Kettering has followed the advice of the BMA and informally closed his expanded list of 2,500 patients on the grounds of patient safety, yet he is now being taken to task by NHS England for potential breach of contract. What is the ministers’ view about reconciling the view of the BMA on patient safety guidelines and NHS England’s view on potential breach of contract?’

Health minister Dr Daniel Poulter responded: I am sure my honourable friend will understand that it is very difficult for me to comment on an individual case but I am very happy to look into the matter and get back to him about it.’

Dr Moss’ practice has been trying to recruit a new GP since last July but not had a single applicant, and the partner it is trying to replace retired at the beginning of last month.

As a result, Dr Moss and colleagues are struggling to cope with existing patient numbers and wanted to close their list, but after blogging about the decision in Pulse Dr Moss received a warning from his area team that they wanted to discuss with him whether he had breached his contract by not consulting them first.





Readers' comments (11)

  • Vinci Ho

    A Tory MP queried the Tory minister.
    Nigel, I think you have to prepare for people criticising Pulse to set up these eye catching headlines to gain attentions and popularity......

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  • A MP questioned a health minister on behalf of a concern in his consitituency.; ~Who'd 'a thought it? A MP doing their primary job.

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  • Took Early Retirement

    I doubt he will get the courtesy of an e-mail back from Poulter. I didn't.

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  • Well perhaps (ha ha) some sense can come out of it...unlikely....we have had a horrendous time being the only open surgery thanks to NHS England!!! unsafe adn untenable but do they care ---no!

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  • It's long overdue that parliament look into what staff to patient ratio is safe. Over 2500k patients/GP is pushing it yet unlike other industries the law refuses to define safe working practices for doctors and nurses beyond EWTD which doesn't apply to partners. Pilots have limited flying hours and a tachograph limits HGV use and yet we have refused to give patients the same courtesy of safe demand despite the well known risks involved in providing healthcare whilst exhausted. Why is life so cheap in the NHS?

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  • Anonymous | Sessional/Locum GP | 24 February 2015 4:31pm
    Why is life so cheap in the NHS?

    Simple - the Govt isn't paying pilots or HGV drivers so they will meddle with impunity. The govt has to fund doctors so the last thing it will do is write laws to increase its own costs

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  • Don't hold your breath waiting for a reasoned, civilised answer from Dan Poulter or from any Govt official.

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  • But it is not really upto the the Govt. It is upto the BMA/ GPC. We are Independent Contractors, so we cannot accept a particular Contract and then change it halfway. The GPC can say what it thinks is safe. But the BMA or GPC never do.
    That is why doctors end up doing 80 hour weekends with 3 hours sleep or seeing 65 patients a day.
    It suits the Govt that there is no such safety because if a mistake is made we carry the can and they do not need to employ more doctors.
    In this regard, things can change. The EWTD changed junior's hours when patently the BMA did not.
    The BMA takes your money and talks about plain cigarette packaging and seat belts [ all very laudable] but does not do it's primary function which is doctor's safety.
    Strangely, as Mid - Staffs showed doctor/ nurse patient ratios are actually important for patient safety.
    Whose side is the BMA on?

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  • Do NHS England have vicarious liability for patient care if they are forcing GPs to accept working practices that are demonstrably unsafe? Does EWTD set a legal precedent to define this?

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  • The thing is lads, you have contracts for which you get paid. If you've agreed in your contract to apply to the Area Team when you want to close the list, you must do it. What you do if they refuse a reasonable request falls into the dispute resolution process.

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