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GPs set to face extra crackdown on ‘inflated’ patient lists

GP practice lists will be scrutinised more than ever after NHS England officials announced plans to standardise its validation processes and crack down on area teams that have not yet begun cleansing patient lists.

Speaking in front of the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) yesterday, NHS England chief executive Simon Stevens said GP lists ‘are inflated’, but said they were ‘a third less so than five years ago’.

But he said that NHS England is procuring new support systems that will allow them to ‘do more’ validation of lists.

This comes after Pulse revealed that thousands of patients have been forced to reregister with their GP due to the NHS England list-cleansing drive, which is aimed at saving £85m and targets the very elderly and children for removal from practice lists.

However, Mr Stevens gave an indication that NHS England will be intensifying efforts to scrutinise GP patient lists.

He told MPs: ‘It is inflated and the extent of the inflation has been coming down quite substantially, so a third less now than five years ago. What we inherited at NHS England was a situation where each PCT and predecessor health authority did its own thing when it came to list validation.

‘So we have a situation where there are 38 different offices around the country that we have inherited that are each doing their own list validation, using a computer system that is 25 years old. Our intention from next spring is to procure a new primary care services back office that will bring national consistency to this right across the country.’

He later added that NHS England would ‘do more’ list validation when ‘aided by a national validation process’. He said: ‘There is work that is happening, but we need to do more of it.’

NHS England chief financial officer Paul Baumann, who was also on the panel being questioned by the PAC about NHS funding, said NHS England would crack down on the one-third of area teams that had not carried out list validation exercises before the end of the year.

He said: ‘In addition to what Simon said, we are going to be mandating during the course of this year, before the end of this year, that every single area team does what most area teams have already been doing, which is implementing the very detailed procedures and guidelines that we have put out in publication back in 2013 to validate the lists.’

He added: ’Two-thirds of them have done substantial amounts of list validation this year, it is true that a third of them have not. Therefore it is our intention not just to wait for the new primary care support services to deal with that but to ensure they are getting on with that job this year.’

A Pulse investigation last month that nearly 12,000 patients have been forced to re-register with their GP since April 2013 after being removed from their GP’s list by managers, following NHS England advice mandating all area teams to validate all GP lists by the end of 2016.