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At the heart of general practice since 1960

NHS list-cleansing drive ‘based on old data’

LMC leaders have called for a stop to draconian list-cleansing schemes after their analysis of the most recent census data suggested the estimates for so-called ‘ghost patients' on GP lists are vastly out of date.

Londonwide LMCs has claimed the drive to remove patients from GP lists was based on census data from 2001, but that there has been a huge surge in population across London since then, with growth of 30% in some areas.

The Department of Health ordered PCTs nationally to collectively identify and remove 2.5 million so-called ‘ghost patients' by April 2013, after it showed the number of patients registered at practices was 25% higher than the estimated local population.

But the official 2011 census data for London published earlier this year shows that all but three of the capital's 32 boroughs have seen population growth of more than 10% since 2001, with some soaring by up to 30%.

Londonwide LMCs said the data provided ‘official evidence that PCT lists significantly under-represent our populations' and proved that the schemes targeting swathes of so-called ‘ghost patients' for removal from practice lists should be stopped immediately. 

Dr Michelle Drage, chief executive of Londonwide LMCs, said the census data provided the evidence required to halt schemes that were having an impact on the most vulnerable patients.

In newsletter to GPs, Dr Drage said: ‘It's a simple message for the NHS in London and for the NHS Commissioning Board, which has made list inflation a target in its operating framework: if you continue to use underestimated figures to fund primary care, health inequalities will grow and grow wider.

‘We will be ramping up our message to the NHS in London and the NHS Commissioning Board to stop and take a good hard look at what the census figures show us about the real populations we are serving, and adjust their policies on list inflation accordingly.'

Dr Tony Grewal, medical director of Londonwide LMCs, told Pulse: ‘If their supposedly "good" motives for doing this were genuine, these figures would stop all list cleansing in its tracks immediately.

‘They should transfer all their efforts to encouraging patients to register, and then something like the Once for London rolling maintenance programme – which is of benefit to everybody – could be gently introduced.'

 

Census data by borough: total population growth 2001 to 2011

 

 

 

 

 

 

Borough

2011

2001

Difference

% change

Tower Hamlets

254,100

196,106

57,994

29.57

Newham

308,000

243,891

64,109

26.29

City and Hackney

253,700

210,009

43,691

20.8

Westminster

219,400

181,766

37,634

20.7

Hounslow

254,000

212,341

41,659

19.62

Southwark

288,300

243,749

44,551

18.28

Waltham Forest

258,200

218,341

39,859

18.26

Wandsworth

307,000

259,881

47,119

18.13

Brent

311,200

263,464

47,736

18.1

Haringey

254,900

216,507

38,393

17.73

Islington

206,100

175,797

30,303

17.24

Greenwich

254,600

219,263

35,337

16.11

Redbridge

279,000

240,796

38,204

15.87

Harrow

239,100

206,643

32,457

15.71

Enfield

312, 500

273,203

39,297

14.38

Barnet

356,400

314,019

42,381

13.5

Lambeth

303,100

267,785

35,315

13.19

Hillingdon

273,900

242,755

31,145

12.83

Ealing

338,400

300,948

37,452

12.44

Camden

220,300

198,020

22,280

11.25

Lewisham

275,900

248,922

26,978

10.84

Hammersmith and Fulham

182,500

165,242

17,258

10.44

Bromley

309,400

280,305

29,095

10.38

Bexley

232,000

211,802

20,198

9.5

Sutton and Merton

389,800

365,704

24,096

6.59

Kensington and Chelsea

158,700

158,439

261

0.16


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