Up to 25,000 patients wrongly struck off GP lists as part of cost-cutting drive
Practice staff were told to trawl lists and strike-off any patients who have died or moved awayFollowed concern that GPs were being overpaid
But thousands of genuine patients have also been removed, potentially risking their health
Sophie Borland Health Reporter
17:19 GMT, 11 February 2013
17:21 GMT, 11 February 2013
Up to 25,000 patients have been wrongly removed from GP lists in an NHS cost-cutting drive.
Staff at practices have been told to trawl their registers and strike-off any patients who have died or moved away.
It followed concerns that the NHS was wasting millions of pounds paying GPs to treat ‘ghost’ patients who didn’t exist.
Up to 25,000 patients have been wrongly removed from GP lists in an NHS cost-cutting drive
But figures obtained by Pulse magazine show that around 4,030 genuine patients have been mistakenly removed over the last year.
Most trusts weren’t able to provide data in response to Freedom of Information requests.
So if these results are replicated across England, some 25,000 patients have been wrongly struck off.
Many are likely to be elderly patients who have to go through the ordeal of re-registering – and providing proof of address and a valid ID.
Dr Richard Vautrey, of the British
Medical Association said: ‘This blunt blanket approach taken by PCTs has
impacted on many genuine patients, losing their registration with their
'We have brought it up with the Government on many occasions but they seem to be blind to the problems they’re creating.’
Doctors have warned that patients taken off lists will miss out on invitations to be immunised or screened for conditions such as cancer
Dr Barry Moyse, a senior GP in Somerset said: ‘It’s risky – patients taken off lists will miss out on invitations to smear tests, breast cancer screening and immunisation. It’s throwing the baby out with the bathwater.’
Each surgery receives 65 a year for every person on their books, regardless of how often they make an appointment.
But last year the Department of Health has there were as many as 2.5 million ‘phantom’ patients lurking on GPs books who have died or moved away.
This would mean doctors were receiving an estimated 162 million a year to treat patients who don’t exist.