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Overhaul of allocations process must be priority

GPs have demanded negotiators make an overhaul of the appeal process for forced allocations an urgent priority in talks on implementing the GMS contract.

The call came as LMCs reported patient allocations were continuing at record


GPs said the new appeal process was inadequate. Under the contract, practices can apply to close their lists and go through several stages of appeal against allocations from their primary care organisation.

Dr Jeff Moysey, vice-chair of West Pennine LMC, said the process would be time-consuming and bureaucratic.

'PCOs could actually use the complexity as a perverse disincentive to GPs to appeal,' he said. 'We are all full-time GPs, and the process would mean leaving our partners to do extra work. It also involves LMC representatives, who are themselves full-time GPs.'

Dr Zoe Blair, a member of Buckinghamshire LMC, said: 'They are going to have to go a long way to convince me things are sorted out.'

GP negotiators admitted the new system was 'not perfect', but said it would not be a priority to renegotiate it for at least three years.

Dr Simon Fradd, GPC joint-deputy chair, said: 'Getting a substantive change, which means PCOs lose the power to allocate, is not a reality in the first three-year cycle.'

He added that PCOs had an incentive to manage allocations well because their star rating would depend on it.

Meanwhile, the growth in forced allocations shows no signs of abating.

Dr Rob Barnett, LMC secretary in Liverpool, said the numbers were similar to last year, when GPs in the city received 3,900 compulsory allocations. 'I've still got practices moaning at me. It's a bone of contention,' he said.

A London Assembly survey recently found that four-fifths of the capital's practice lists are closed.

Leeds LMC medical secretary Dr Richard Vautrey said allocations were still high in the city, but a PMS practice set up specifically for allocated patients had eased the situation.

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