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NHS complaints handling failing

18th October 2011

The Health Service Ombudsman has warned that some GPs are getting rid of patients too quickly and without just cause.

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It said in some cases whole families were being struck off the practice list when only one member had been abusive.

The Ombudsman said the health service was not dealing with complaints adequately and many minor disagreements had escalated.

The Ombudsman looked at 10 cases where GPs had removed patients from their practice lists.

Ombudsman Ann Abraham said: "What's really worrying about these cases is far too often GPs don't seem to be aware of what their NHS contracts require of them. Their contracts require them to give a warning before people are removed unless the circumstances are exceptional."

Ms Abraham said GPs could take patients off their lists if there had been "an irretrievable breakdown and attempts to resolve it haven't been successful".

She added: "What we see in far too many cases is a knee-jerk response to a single incident where an individual - sometimes a whole family - is removed." 

The Ombudsman's report revealed the case of a terminally ill woman and her two daughters who were removed from the list because one of her daughters had replaced the battery in a device which administered medication. 

A Department of Health spokesman said: "If any patient feels that they have been removed unreasonably or without warning then they can raise this with their local primary care trust." 

 

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