Medicopolitical Digest

Medicopolitical digest

BMJ 1994; 308 doi: (Published 30 April 1994) Cite this as: BMJ 1994;308:1166
  1. Linda Beecham

    GPs may remove violent patients from lists immediately

    New regulations introduced this month enable general practitioners to require family health services authorities (FHSAs) to immediately remove from their lists any patient who has acted violently or behaved in such a way that doctors fear for their safety.

    Doctors have always been able to require a patient's removal within seven days; the criterion under the new regulations (The National Health Service (General Medical Services) Amendment Regulations 1994, No 633) is the general practitioner's “reasonable fear” and so would include violent acts or threats of violence against the doctor's staff.

    For a patient to be removed immediately the doctor must inform the police of the incident and the FHSA. Removal takes effect when the request, which can be made by telephne or fax, reaches the FHSA whether the office is open or not. Written confirmation should follow within seven dys. The general practitioner should also notify the patient of the decision but this can be done by post or the police can be asked to pass on the decision.

    The Home Office had been consulted over the regulations, one of the GMSC's negotiators, Dr Brian Goss, reported last week, but he did not know what the police authorities had done to notify police stations of the new arrangements. He urged general practitioners to forge close links with their local stations.

    The new regulations do not exclude the provision of “immediate necessary treatment” that general practitioners are expected to give to any patient whether on their list or not.

    Last year the secretary of state for …

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