‘We’ve had patients here for years who have suddenly been removed’
Dr Coral Jones on the damaging effects of list-cleansing
We are conscientious about cleaning up our lists. And yet several patients have been removed who have been here a long time. We don’t know how it happened. They don’t know how it happened. We have to go through a lot of work to get them back on the list again.
Patients are really upset. They come in and we say: ‘But you’ve moved.’ And they say: ‘We haven’t, what’s this all about?’.
In theory, patients might miss out on care they need. We have a high list turnover so we only get alerted to the problem when someone comes in wanting an appointment.
If people don’t come in, we would not know they are not registered. They might miss out on a screening invitation – anything could happen.
It’s not got any better under NHS England. In terms of all the problems with payments to practices, this is just another thing on top. It is more work for us to do to maintain our list.
It does seem to affect patients randomly, but it is the patients who have been here for longer who are affected. People get upset, quite rightly – they think we have taken them off. We’ve had people who have been here for years and have suddenly been removed. It is probably easy for NHS England to target somewhere like this, where there is a higher list turnover.
In Hackney, the list turnover is 25% to 30%. This is part of the reason, along with deprivation and the need for translation services, that we need extra payments in east London – it is a huge amount of extra work, chasing round other practices, having to be summarised, having to be put on the system.
Dr Coral Jones is a GP in Tower Hamlets, east London