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I ain’t afraid of no ghosts

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NHS Fraud has decided to prioritise the shocking fraud that happens in GP practices every day, when they heinously make money by deliberately failing to remove patients from their list.

You have to wonder what goes through the mind of some NHS managers. It would have taken the managers at NHS Fraud a single phone call to the BMA, the RCGP or even NHS England to realise how ridiculous their suggestion is.

First, previous attempts at these list-cleansing drives have invariably shown that practices are good at maintaining their records, and a high number of patients chucked off have been genuine.

There is no scandal here – except the misinformed strategy in the first place

Second, the fact is that funding for these ‘ghost patients’ – those that are still registered with a practice who have died or moved away – is already built into the funding. Ie, practices’ funding is already being reduced because everyone knows it is impossible to have real-time info on all these patients.

Finally – and most egregiously – is the insinuation, as the RCGP rightly put it, that GPs are a bunch of fraudsters out to make money unfairly. This is all the more galling after NHS England have already appointed Capita to audit list-cleansing exercises.

Practices should not be afraid of this drive from NHS Fraud, because there is no scandal here – except the misinformed strategy in the first place.

Jaimie Kaffash is editor of Pulse. Follow him on Twitter @jkaffash or email him at