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Practices have to assign all patients their ‘named GP’ before 30 June

Practices have less than than two weeks to assign each patient to a named, accountable GP, LMCs have warned.

The measure – included in the 2015/16 contract – must be carried out by 30 June, and follows on from the 2014/15 GP contract, which required GPs to ensure all elderly patients had a named GP assigned to them.

Londonwide LMCs admits that there have been concerns about the administrative aspects involved but argues that the contract is ‘practical in the flexibility it provides’.

‘Patients do not have to be actively consulted as to which GP is named as accountable for them, but care should be taken in assigning a GP to those with long-term conditions and/or pre-existing relationships,’ warns Londonwide LMCs.

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Patients should be told who their named GP is when they next visit their practice, rather than by a letter having to be sent to the whole list. At this point practices should explain the role and responsibilities of the accountable GP along with their contact details.

Practices must be able to demonstrate that ‘reasonable efforts’ have been made if a patient wishes to change their named GP, but patients do not have an automatic right to have the accountable GP of their choice, says Londonwide LMCs.

However, patients will not be forced to see their named GP when they book an appointment with the practice and can choose ‘any GP or nurse in the practice in line with current arrangements’.

Patients over 75 who already have an accountable GP do not need to go through this process again.

The BMA has produced guidance while NHS England has a set of FAQs covering the new contract.