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Minister to look into disagreement over list closure prompted by Pulse blog

A health minister has stepped into the row over a Pulse blogger’s informal closure of his patient list over patient safety, after the GP was threatened with a breach notice.

An MP raised in Parliament the case of Dr Hadrian Moss, a GP in Kettering, who closed his list because of fears over patient safety after following advice given in the GPC’s new guide to managing workload pressures, as first reported by Pulse.

Dr Moss said that patient safety was at risk if he didn’t close his list, after the retirement of a partner at the practice had left it short of GPs.

However, after reading about the incident in Pulse, NHS England threatened Dr Moss with a breach notice, warning that the GPC advice – which states GPs could informally close lists without applying for area team permission as long as they have good reason and were not discriminating against any patient – was incorrect.

In a health questions session today in the House of Commons, Philip Hollobone, the Conservative MP for Kettering, raised the issue with health minister Dr Dan Poulter.

He said: ‘Following the retirement of a senior partner who they have been unable to replace, Dr Hadrian Moss of the Dryland GP surgery in Kettering has followed the advice of the BMA and informally closed his expanded list of 2,500 patients on the grounds of patient safety, yet he is now being taken to task by NHS England for potential breach of contract. What is the ministers’ view about reconciling the view of the BMA on patient safety guidelines and NHS England’s view on potential breach of contract?’

Health minister Dr Daniel Poulter responded: I am sure my honourable friend will understand that it is very difficult for me to comment on an individual case but I am very happy to look into the matter and get back to him about it.’

Dr Moss’ practice has been trying to recruit a new GP since last July but not had a single applicant, and the partner it is trying to replace retired at the beginning of last month.

As a result, Dr Moss and colleagues are struggling to cope with existing patient numbers and wanted to close their list, but after blogging about the decision in Pulse Dr Moss received a warning from his area team that they wanted to discuss with him whether he had breached his contract by not consulting them first.