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Medicopolitical Digest

Medicopolitical digestGPs oppose MPs' proposals on removing patients from listsClinical governance needs time and moneyGPs given guidance over millennium planningBMA council election

BMJ 1999; 318 doi: (Published 29 May 1999) Cite this as: BMJ 1999;318:1493

GPs oppose MPs' proposals on removing patients from lists

The General Practitioners Committee opposes the suggestion of the select committee on public administration that GPs' powers to remove patients from their lists should be qualified by changing their terms of service.

In their response to the health service ombudsman's annual report the MPs said that GPs should give reasons to the health authority for removing a patient from their lists and that the authority would have to approve the removal (15 May, p 1309). At present there is no contractual obligation to give reasons, but the GPC agrees that it is good practice and common courtesy to give a reason. In its 1996 guidance on removing patients the committee says that “when trust has irretrievably broken down it is in the patient's interest to find a new GP.”

The GPC believes that the select committee's recommendation that patients should have a right of appeal if they thought that they had been wrongly removed would be counterproductive.

The ombudsman's report also deals with complaints in primary care, and the GPC emphasised that when GPs faced complaints they should be considered innocent until proved guilty. The medical defence organisations …

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