The content of this website is intended for healthcare professionals only

One million extra patients on London GP lists

But list cleansing is removing many genuine patients from lists

Ingrid Torjesen

Monday, 10 October 2011

GP lists in London contain a million more people than the population of the capital, research by BBC One's The Politics Show has suggested.

Freedom of Information requests revealed that the total number of patients on GP lists is approximately 9m, compared with the 7.75m population.

Lists cleansing by surgeries in the last five years has removed at least 460,000 names of people that cannot be contacted in the past five years, the investigation revealed. List cleansing ensures GPs are not paid for patients who have moved out of the area and who are no longer receiving services from that practice. Patients are sent two written requests to contact the surgery and are removed if they do not respond.

But in some cases patients are being wrongly deleted from lists and have to re-register to keep their doctor. In the east London borough of Tower Hamlets, this was the case for 61% of those removed in a recent overhaul.

Emily Thornberry, the shadow health and social care secretary and MP for Islington South and Finsbury, told the BBC that people would not necessarily respond to letters from surgeries, particularly if their English was poor.

Registered in England and Wales. Reg No. 2530185. c/o Wilmington plc, 5th Floor, 10 Whitechapel High Street, London E1 8QS. Reg No. 30158470