End GP boundaries8th June 2011
The Patients Association has called for an end to the "geographical strait jacket" of needing to register with a GP close to your home.
However, doctors' groups have said that changing the way the system worked would be expensive and act to the detriment of local care.
The Department of Health said it planned to allow patients to make choices about their treatment from April 2012.
The results of an official consultation which had 5,459 responses showed that 77% of respondents were in favour of the system changing, but 70% of health care workers did not back the idea.
MPs have said they wanted to change the system for a number of years as currently GPs can refuse to treat people who do not live close to their surgery.
Vanessa Bourne, from the Patients Association, said: "Here we have something that is nothing to do with the patient, only to do with their address."
"It's a geographical strait jacket - and it's not the way modern health care should be operating. In some cases, patients are desperate to change GP. You won't get home visits if you're not easily linked in with the local area."
The British Medical Association (BMA) said there were less expensive and complicated methods of changing the current system in order to benefit patients rather than scrapping GP's practice boundaries.
A spokeswoman said: "We're not against it in principle - but we feel it will be incredibly complicated and expensive to sort out."
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Title: End GP boundaries
Author: Jess Laurence
Article Id: 18713
Date Added: 8th Jun 2011