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Patient survey losses will cost GPs £35m

By The Pulse news team

Exclusive: The loss to general practice caused by the Government's patient access survey will reach almost £35 million, a Pulse investigation can today reveal.

Practices in England alone will lose close to £27m, adding to estimated losses of £4m in Scotland and £2m in both Wales and Northern Ireland.

Our investigation also reveals that GPs lost out in the vast majority of cases in which the patient uptake of the survey fell below the accepted statistical limits agreed when it was launched, with practices being hit by losses of up to £25,000 on the comments of a tiny fraction of their patients.

Yesterday the Government claimed that there would be winners and losers from the 35% of practices whose results fell outside the 7% confidence intervals for the PE8 extended access question, and the 10% of practices who fell outside this limit for the PE7 48 hour access question.

But our investigation, based on official DH figures for all 152 PCTs in England, shows that 99% of practices scored below average in the 2657 cases where confidence levels were breached for question PE8.

This figure was only partially lower for PE7, where 83% out of 5248 practices scored below average.

With more than 3,000 practices already having lodged appeals, the extent of the overall losses and renewed question marks over the reliability of the statistics has increased anger over the survey, which some MPs now want scrapped.

There was also anger that GPs were gagged by PCTs to stop them speaking out about their losses.

Practices found out their results several weeks ago, they were told they could not comment publically until the full list was published this week.

Dr John Doyle, a GP in Redhill, Surrey, who said his practice expects to lose more than £1,000, said: ‘I don't agree with that at all. People were being given their results and told they couldn't say anything but they were saying look I've lost a lot of money here. It's absolutely daft to embargo it.'

‘Some people have lost very significant amounts of money. For some practices it can be an important part of their income.

‘This is happening at a time when the government is supposed to be increasing access to patients and how are they going to do it by taking money away from practices. Its crazy.'

Devastating: patient survey to cost UK general practice more than £30m Devastating: patients survey to cost UK general practice more than £30m

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