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LMCs win concession over NHS England scheme to remove thousands of patients from GP lists

GP leaders have managed to rein in a major list-cleansing drive launched by NHS England that targeted 700,000 patients in London, after managers agreed not to remove patients that have made contact with practices within the past 15 months.

Pulse has learned that Londonwide LMCs have won a significant concession from a scheme to remove thousands of patients from GP lists through a ‘one-hit’ list-cleansing drive on the capital.

Patients targeted will receive two letters, separated by four weeks, then have six months to get in contact before being wiped from the practice list and losing access.

But Londonwide LMCs criticised NHS England flagging lots of patients with an FP69 through a mass mailing, saying that the process clashed both with the influenza season and with the year-end QOF reporting.

Dr Tony Grewal, medical director for Londonwide LMCs, said: ‘The document from NHS England doesn’t contain any reference to the criteria by which you can justify closing an FP69. So we have just agreed with NHS England (London) that any patient who has had any contact recorded in the past 15 months – either telephone contact, a consultation, a repeat-prescription request or a third-party letter – then the FP69 flag can be removed, and that a practice does not have to provide proof of that patient being at an address and still wanting services from them. A single assertion that that is the case will be sufficient.’

‘Obviously they have to be careful that there aren’t any accusations that they have been pulling a fast one, if they are challenged. So those we managed to have agreed and that message has gone out to practices today. We have not yet agreed the mechanism whereby when a patient is deemed to fulfil those criteria exactly how practices switch off the FP69 flag, and that is what we are working on.’

He added: ‘Part of the reason why practices are so unhappy about this is that the FP69s were all set on the 28 September, which means that they will be removed from the lists, unless we do something about it, six months thereafter. What it means is that on average 10% of their list will have an FP69 flag and they will have to ensure that those patients are still at their address, or are at another address and want to stay registered, and make sure that NHS England does not deregister them.’

’The end of March is the run up to the end of the financial year and that is when practices are running up to QOF so they will be busy at that time. I mean they are busy now because it is flu season and they are doing the flu jabs, so it is not a great time for it.’