General Practitioners Committee General practitioner Practice manager

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GPs prepared to suspend patient registration

The BMA GPs committee England has released the results of our indicative survey of GP practices on willingness to close practice lists, following the resolution from the LMC Conference in May this year. The full results are available here.

With nearly 2,000 responses, the results show that a small majority (54%) would consider temporarily suspending new patient registration, but a minority (44%) would be in favour of applying for a formal list closure.

The strength of feeling shown by those who responded means we are calling on the Government to address the crisis urgently. Practices have judged that the GP Forward View is failing to sustain general practice or provide the support that practices need right now. GPs and practices are facing intense pressures owing to the Government's lack of support. Understaffing, underfunding and overworking are three pressures we constantly hear quoted, but there are many others, all combining to make general practice currently an unsustainable service and an unsustainable career option.

However, it is a career that we have chosen and we all want to see sustained with sensible, long-term solutions, for us and for our patients.

There is much the Government needs to do, most importantly:

  • A swift resolution to the indemnity crisis
  • A limit to workload levels so that no patient or doctor is put at risk
  • A sustainable expansion of the general practice and community workforce (with an end to short-term schemes with non-recurrent funding)
  • Surgery buildings that are fit for the 21st century.

We ask practices and GPs to engage with their local medical committees and regional GPC representatives to ensure your voices are heard.

We know that many practices need to act now to protect their current patients. In such situations practices have always been able to suspend patient registration of their own accord temporarily, as long as they have reasonable grounds that are not related to the characteristics of the patient. The BMA provides guidance on temporarily suspending patient registrations, and we would encourage you to seek support from your LMCs in such situations.

Read more about this in the latest news from the GPC.

Richard Vautrey

BMA GPs committee England chair

BMA GPs committee UK chair

[email protected]