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Letter of the week: List cleansing is targeted racism

As a target for a list-cleansing initiative in west Hertfordshire, I lost 200 patients last year from my personal list, with the PCT citing ‘returned or undelivered mail' as the reason for their removal

List-cleansing drive to wipe off 40% of patients

Over 95% had obviously non-British surnames – so the targets were ethnic-minority patients, many of whom would be unable to understand or respond to written communications. While it is hard to defend a registration if the patient is not contactable and not been seen for some time, we found that a proportion of these attempted deductions were not only still living at the same address but also denied ever receiving a letter from the PCT.

We are re-registering patients on a daily basis. If we believe what our patients tell us about the situation, many letters are simply not sent out – but are a fishing expedition carried out among the ‘foreign' patients in our practices.

Maybe I am being paranoid!

On a personal basis, some three years ago my family had to move to temporary accommodation in the area where we live due to extensive water damage to our house. We informed the local council [for council tax purposes] but not our GP; however within three weeks of moving we received letters for each family member from our PCT asking if we still lived at our address – now that was spooky! Why would our PCT write to us out of the blue? Perhaps the local councils tip the PCTs off about people moving-I think we should be told..

From Dr Richard Reubin,
Watford, Hertfordshire

Is list cleansing removing ethnic-minority patients who still live in the area?