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Patients refused GP practice registration to be given ‘access cards’, says NHSE


homeless people


Patients who have been denied registration at a GP practice because of a lack of supporting documentation are to be handed ‘GP access cards’, NHS England has said.

The cards include a ‘direct number to the NHS England Customer Contact Centre’, which will ‘support people who may have been refused registration’ at practices, NHS England said.

It said the cards aim to address health inequalities and prevent practices from turning away patients who are unable to provide proof of address, ID or immigration status.

Slides presented at a GP webinar last night said that local Healthwatch and voluntary organisations will distribute the cards to people they are supporting with healthcare registration.

The slides said: ‘We know that some people experience barriers to registering with a GP. We want to ensure that everyone feels welcome in general practice.

‘People who are not registered with a GP are likely to experience significant health inequalities that make them vulnerable to Covid-19 and they need access to the vaccine.’

They added that practices should offer ‘initial health assessments’ to new patients to ‘identify vulnerability’ to coronavirus and whether they should be added to the shielding list.

Practices should also support their receptionists to complete ‘bitesize’ homelessness training, ensure their website states patients can register without ID or address and ‘reach out’ to local voluntary organisations to ‘work together’, NHS England said.

It comes as Dr Nikki Kanani is to head up an NHS England team targeting minority groups for Covid vaccine as part of measures to maximise uptake among vulnerable groups.

And several local authorities in England have decided to prioritise homeless people for vaccination against Covid-19, outside the current JCVI recommendations.

READERS' COMMENTS [7]

Patrufini Duffy 29 January, 2021 9:21 pm

Contentious I’m sure. 100% agree with being all inclusive. But, there are clear caveats. Registering an illegal individual, with no proof of address or ID, who could have a criminal record abroad or be an unknown physical, safeguarding or biological threat (e.g. unknown communicable disease) to simply walk in and demand on exposed primary care staff and other patients, is something that is a clear taboo to discuss. But, let’s talk about it, it’s on people’s chests. And lets all be honest – this approach is non-reciprocated in most other world countries and already open to abuse and catastrophe as you keep publicising it on GovUK and NHS.uk. You should also let the electorate know. But you won’t. It is not always about the patient. Primary care knows that, it’s not stupid, and resilience wears thin. I’d like to see if all GP staff, including females who are a large cohort of the workforce, are happy with untraceable and unknown individuals wandering around practices, using toilets and closed consulting room doors. I’d like a number to call for support or danger, one for border control to speak with illegal individuals. It only makes sense. You can’t have one rule for some, and others for residents. You’d fine me if I drove down a bus lane, but not an illegal individual or someone who says I don’t have any I.D. I am not saying emergency care shouldn’t be there, it must – via A+E which is fully staffed with security. GP sites aren’t. Or have 111 book them into a dedicated Hub for follow-up. And on this point, the NHS is the most hypocritical business out there, welcoming global health tourists who fashionably now want to fill in your prescription exemption forms and squeeze in a TKR or colonoscopy and mole check with their Yasmin or insulin or supposed thyroxine (because obviously the TSH is normal) prior to departure – and that’s all ok, while you disregard home citizens. We know people do it, and the Government seems ridiculously ok with that. Just make sure you give them the number of the Health Ombudsman and your complaints policy when you register them. I describe a recent individual who came to the UK from South America (nothing against this beautiful continent), above 70 years age, demanded an influenza vaccine, covid vaccine, 4 medications on NHS script, blood test, a translator, the GP to translate their foreign letters and a referral within their two month “holiday” arrival. Australia, Canada, USA and Dubai would be laughing. AND, all during our pandemic. It was surreal. And the red carpet was laid, without obstacle or question and humiliating benevolence shown. Not exactly the Bevin model. This is a neutral non judgmental but honest and realistic opinion that needs some form of control and understanding of resources and staff safety. This is not about homeless people. I get that. But the world’s infinite people? That is different. That needs a policy and framework. Not just good will and gesture and blind Hippocratic faith. How do you refer if they won’t tell you their address or number (which they might have)? It isn’t that easy. It is also about truth, transparency and knowledge of what is going on, and who is this unknown person. Otherwise you could undermine the word altruism, for manipulation, and safety for risk and danger. Open to debate.

Reply moderated
Gavin Jamie 30 January, 2021 4:23 pm

I don’t have an answer here but, from a data protection standpoint, could I walk into a practice and register as Matthew David John Hancock DOB 2/10/78 and then get a full copy of my records? Would I need any ID?

Slobbering Spaniel 31 January, 2021 9:16 am

Try claiming benefits without ID etc.
But that’s money and much more important.

David Church 1 February, 2021 2:57 pm

Do these cards accept incoming phone calls from GP switchboards offering vaccination appointments then?

David jenkins 1 February, 2021 5:06 pm

Patrufini Duffy

brilliant !

well said !

go to poland – walk into your local friendly gp, and demand to be seen today, free, with a same-sex translator, and watch them fall off the chair with laughter !

saw polish bloke the other day, didn’t speak english, 10 yr old daughter was interpreter. vascular problem needed referral. luckily our local vascular surgeon is polish ! RESULT you might think ! but no – response from patient was – i want english surgeon – if i wanted polish surgeon i’d go back to poland !!!

didn’t make this up !

unbelievable !

Hank Beerstecher 2 February, 2021 8:23 am

Hi DJ, you may want to edit as this gives quite a bit of information and the person concerned could recognise themselves.

David jenkins 10 February, 2021 5:08 pm

Hank Beerstecher
hi hank – thankyou – but had already altered anything identifiable ! thankyou anyway – you’re right !