Practices have less time than previously advised by the GPC to inform their elderly patients of who their named GP is, after a ‘miscommunication’ with NHS managers over deadlines.
The GPC had told Pulse that the deadline was extended from 30 June to 31 July, but NHS England has been informing GPs that the contractual requirement to inform patients over 75 years of their named GP has not been extended.
After GPs contacted Pulse about the confusion, it has emerged that the month-long extension applies only to the new DES for avoiding unplanned admissions, meaning practices have to inform all patients over 75 who is their named GP by the end of this month.
The GPC said it had believed that the deadline had been extended for all patients and that it would be lobbying for practices to have their deadline extended to the end of July if they have been inconvenienced by the error.
Under the DES, GPs should provide a named clinician and a care co-ordinator to the 2% most vulnerable patients by the end of July – extended from end of June – and set up a care plan by September.
Dr Nagpaul told Pulse: ‘I was given the go-ahead to say that there was an extension to the end of July. That was my belief. I got it from official sources at the time when we spoke [but now] they have told me this only applied to the unplanned admissions DES.’
Dr Nagpaul added that the GPC would ask managers to ensure that no GP practice was penalised for working to an incorrect deadline because of a misunderstanding: ‘I think there has been a miscommunication in this. I think that it was their intent that it was actually extended for all, including over 75s, but somehow that is not how it has panned out.
‘It would be very wrong if practices were in any way disadvantaged by this clear misunderstanding. If they themselves thought the extension was to July, and therefore it is a misunderstanding, and therefore it would be very wrong to penalise any practice on this.’
NHS Employers told Pulse the deadline for the named GP contractual requirement was end of July. But after being asked to double check, they clarified that this deadline applied only to the DES and not the core contract.
A spokesperson said: ‘For any patient aged 75 and over they are required to be informed of their named GP by the end of June 2014.
‘This is a core contract requirement and relates to these patients whether or not they are part of the extended services. For any patient under 75 years, they need to be informed of their named GP by the end of July 2014 if part of the new enhanced service.’