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GP contract change will make it easier to remove violent patients

Practices will be able to refuse to register patients if they have a violent flag against their record, following a change to the GP contract.

The regulation changes will also allow practices to remove ‘mistakenly registered’ violent patients under the normal procedures.

The BMA’s GP Committee said this will aid practices that have accepted patients without knowing about previous incidents. 

The 2018/19 contract which was released today, has deemed a violent flag against a patient record as ‘reasonable grounds’ to refuse registration at a practice.

It also said that any practice that mistakenly registers a patient with such a flag can now remove them from the practice list.

Such patients will then be ‘managed in line with agreed national policies, including where appropriate special allocation schemes’.

GPC chair Dr Richard Vautrey said: ‘We secured these changes as some practices were having problems because they had registered a patient who they did not know had been removed from a previous practice because of a particular violent incident.

‘These important changes now make it clear that a practice can remove such a patient and that they receive care from a more appropriate service, commissioned for this purpose.’

Last year a Pulse investigation revealed that the GPC was calling on NHS England to resolve the delays in removing violent patients from GP lists.

The GPC said the delays were caused by the requirement to provide a crime number, which they argued was putting public safety ‘at risk’.

This followed reports that a practice in East Anglia had been left waiting for two weeks after a GP was assulted by a violent patient, despite immediately reporting the incident to the police and NHS England.