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Audit Commission to probe patient list ‘inaccuracies’

The Audit Commission is to publish national data on patient registration inaccuracies by the end of the year amid mounting concerns over a new list cleansing drive.

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The regulator, which 'protects the public purse', told Pulse it plans to publish the latest data from The National Duplicate Registration Initiative – a project that analyses PCT data to identify inaccuracies in GP patient lists – in the coming months. The new report will detail inaccuracies in patient lists that were identified during 2009.

The last time the initiative was run, in 2004, it led to the removal of 185,000 patients from GP practice lists, saving the Department of Health £9.5m in the process.

In a statement, the Audit Commission said: ‘In line with our pre-existing timetable the Commission is collating these outcomes and plans to publish a national report later this year. The report will detail the outcomes identified in the October 2009 data extract.'

The news comes amid growing concerns over list cleansing. In July, Pulse revealed that GPs in parts of London had up to a quarter of patient lists removed without their knowledge. The move followed revelations at the LMC conference earlier this year that 38,000 patients had been removed from patient lists in NHS Brent.

GP delegates at this year's LMCs' conference called on the GPC to negotiate a ‘fair national policy for list validation and Dr Tony Grewal, medical director of Londonwide LMCs, revealed the extent of the list cleansing drive in Brent.

At the time Dr Grewal said: '38,000 patients in one PCT have no longer got a registered GP. 11% of patients have been de-registered at a stroke.'

'This is a cynical attempt to take money out of primary care where it can do good, and putting it into the black hole of secondary care.'