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At the heart of general practice since 1960

GP chief inspector's practice set to deregister nursing home patients due to recruitment crisis

The practice where CQC chief inspector of general practice Professor Steve Field is a partner has had to consider removing 75 patients from its practice list after struggling to recruit GPs.

Professor Field said his Bellevue Medical Centre in Birmingham had to take the action following the recent retirement of two partners - whom the practice has failed to replace amid the current shortage of GPs - and has been struggling under rising demands.

As a result, it had to stop treating patients from a nursing home, which was outside its catchment area.

Professor Field said: ‘Following the retirement of two partners at the Bellevue Medical Centre and the rising demand for services, there has been increasing difficulty to continue to treat patients who live outside the practice catchment area. As a result, the difficult decision to de-register patients who are located further away is having to be considered.’

‘The Andrew Cohen Nursing Home is about four miles away from the Bellevue Medical Centre and falls outside the catchment area. For an inner city practice this is a long distance. The home is located 50 yards away from another large, high quality general practice, the Riverbrook Medical Centre, and there are several other practices nearby.’

He said his practice has held several meetings with staff at the Riverbrook Medical Centre, who were ‘happy to provide care to the home’ and ‘ensure a smooth transfer with no disruption to care’. He also said the shift would benefit patients because the other practice was geographically closer.

However, he added: ‘Practices should not be de-registering patients unless there is a genuine need to do so. All practices have a duty to treat local patients regardless of any condition, age or support needs they have .’

A CQC spokesperson added that ‘there have been difficulties in recruitment… with the current ongoing shortage [of GPs]’.

It comes as Professor Field showed his support for nursing home patients earlier this year when he hit out at some GPs for apparently charging a fee to see them.

Readers' comments (62)

  • Do as I say not as I do!!

    Patient choice?

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  • It is 2.9 miles from the practice (who have 12 GPs) to the nursing home.

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  • The only way they will just START to listen to us and think about the way they now treat GPs is when we walk in large numbers. I've waited 17 years for it to get better and it's got worse. I'm planning to cut to half time and then go if I can within a year. The damage has been done for a generation now.

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  • We can all knock Steve Field for this and make sniping political points and enjoy ourselves but that'd be as unprofessional as taking external posts when your practice has to stop looking after some of it's patients.

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  • This is disgusting behavior.

    If I have difficulty recruiting partners (as we have), can I drop parts of CQC requirements and would Steve still pass me? Or can I de-register my top 10% attenders to make the work more managable? Or perhaps I can cut my hours short?

    Problems recruiting partners is Dr Field's problem and not the patients on his list's problem. Why is he transferring his problem as a contractor to his clients (i.e. patients) and getting away with it. If I did the same, my LAT would be knocking at my door. It must be nice being a CQC chairman isn't it Dr Field?

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  • Perhaps the Government might now take notice of the recruitment crisis. Sadly I think it is part of their plan.

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  • The article does not make it clear, were all patients outside the catchment area dropped or only the ones in the nursing home? In the latter case this would appear to be a serious case of age discrimination and riding rough-shod over people who in the main are not in a position to object to being transferred.

    I think CQC should investigate this dreadful conduct.

    As for Field, surely he should give up committments to CQC which he clearly does not have time for and concentrate on looking after his patients. We can all have nice add ons to our jobs but when backs are to the wall we have to concentrate on the basics first and let the bells and whistles go.

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  • I really hope Prof Field reads comments made here. Let me tell you our experience: my partner was asked to join the LMC members board, 2nd partner has an invitation to be part of CCG which is currently in process of reviewing community musculoskeletal services and mental health services and I have been asked to lead diabetes care. As a partnership we struggle to provide adequate weekly appointments and if we took these roles we would then be looking for locums to cover the shifts. Hence we have refused to do the above and continue doing the bread and butter GP work. Why should Prof Field get away with the above discrimination of patients who are the most vulnerable? Why not have a locum to cover some appointments while trying to recruit? why only deregister the 75 pts in NH/RH and why are they not deregistering rest of the pts who are outside their catchment area? will CQC pass this surgery as competent?

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  • Mark my words this talk of crisis in primary care is exactly what the government/civil servants want and we need to be careful.
    We and I include the RCGP and GPC are being extremely naiive.

    It does not matter which party gets in next year there is a concerted effort to undermine the profession and fan the flames of a crisis right up to the election. This is being driven by Whitehall.

    It is clear that we are building up to a 'mid staffs' event in Primary Care probably soon after May 2015. This will result in a huge and costly public enquiry led by our friend Prof Field which will conclude the only real way to address the lottery of care, lottery of access and variable quality in Primary Care is to reform independant contractor status.

    While huge practices such as mine will be offered opportunities it is clear the opportunties will sit with Virgin, The hurley/ Gerada group and The practice Plc, Circle and the Foundation trusts

    The denigration of the profession, the fact most of my highly talented colleagues are retiring, working part time or heading to Aus/ Canada in addition to a primary care mid staffs expose in mid 2015 will break the back of traditional general practice forever.
    This is all being beautifully choreographed by the mandarins and they are pulling off Cruyff turns around Porter and Chagpaul day in day out.

    The problem is the public/patients on the whole will not realise how good they have it until they meet the corporate driven model of general practice.

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  • Quite frankly if Virgin or Bupa wanted to take over my practice I'd accept, as long as they took it over lock, stock and barrel.

    I wouldn't work for them, though. They might have a bit of a staffing black hole.

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