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How we control our list size

We have never closed our list ­ we just make our practice area smaller. Before our move to new premises we had maintained our list size at about 7,500 for some 10 years, by reducing the area from which we would accept new patients.

Initially we were taking people who live up to a mile-and-a-half away but we gradually reduced this, so that eventually we wereonly accepting new patients living within half a mile of the surgery.

As the catchment area goes down there comes a point where, on average, there are as many old patients leaving as new ones joining.

The advantage for us is that now most of our patients live very close to the surgery. They are less likely to request a visit, because we are so close, but if they do need one it is quicker for us to get to them.

We accept anybody who wants to register who is within our current area, and nobody who is outside it ­ except relatives of existing patients at the same address.

Dr Patrick Bower

Balham, London SW17

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