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New guidance on GP practice boundaries

Practices with open lists will be required to write to patients if they refuse to take them on, giving reasons for their decision.

The new requirement came in guidance stating practices have until the end of February to agree with their PCO whether their list is open or closed.

Grounds for refusing patients if a list is open include past incidents of violence towards medical staff, or if the patient has previously been removed from a list.

Practices can also refuse to accept patients who live outside their boundary.

GPs said the latter provision made it essential for

practices to ensure their boundary is tightly drawn to ensure they were not deluged with applications or forced allocations.

Dr Martin Smith said practices should check whether housing developments were planned near their surgery in the next few years.

His practice in Swallowfield, Berkshire, won an appeal last year against his trust's refusal to allow it to change its boundary to exclude a large development.

He said: 'If it's possible to re-route the boundary, that can be successful in limiting workload.'

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