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At the heart of general practice since 1960

National Care Record hit by data setback

From Dr David Church

Machynlleth

I would support a campaign to keep indicative practice boundaries. I read the articles on the proposal to remove practice boundaries, supposedly to increase competition for patients, with increasing incredulity (News, 19 November.

It seems the Government thinks if the boundaries are abolished we can attract patients from beyond them. We already attract patients from beyond them who wish to register with a 'better' GP than the one within whose boundary they live!

We use our boundary as the limit of where we are willing to provide visits to, and as an 'excuse' as to why we won't register patients who live far away, but we are free to register them if we want to.

It appears the Government does not understand what is the significance of the boundary ­ it does not stop us registering a patient from beyond, it is our limit for certain payments and other services only. Removal of practice boundaries would make no difference to competition.

If abolition removes our right to decline visits outside the boundary, we would, however, be forced to de-register all patients living outside of a reasonable distance from our surgery, even if they prefer to see us because they work within the boundary. This would not be so popular, I am sure.

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