Bow GP warns of ‘unsafe’ government plans for practice boundaries

Dr George Farrelly, who has criticised plans to scrap GP practice boundaries

Dr George Farrelly, who has criticised plans to scrap GP practice boundaries - Credit: Archant

Patients will be put at risk if government plans to do away with GP practice boundaries get the go ahead, it has been warned.

Dr George Farrelly, who runs the Tredegar Practice in Bow, has written to the department of health accusing it of being either “remarkably stupid” or “engaged in an elaborate deception” over the plans.

Tower Hamlets is one of three pilot areas in which practice boundaries were scrapped during a trial from April 2012 to April 2013 as part of proposals aimed at improving patient choice.

But in his response to a consultation on the possibility of implementing the scheme nationally, Dr Farrelly wrote: “This policy may sound attractive on the surface, but in reality will simply not work and will cause general practice to malfunction; in some cases it will be unsafe.”

Dr Farrelly, who has run the practice in St Stephens Road for 22 years, said demand is so high for popular surgeries such as his own that they have had to shrink, rather than expand, practice areas.

“Because we are popular, people have wanted to register with us,” he wrote. “This has driven us to a list size beyond our capacity which has a negative impact on the quality of the service we provide for our patients, and we have a workload which is unsustainable.

“There is no way we could cope with an additional influx of patients from Tower Hamlets; we are drowning as it is,” he added.

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Successive governments have promoted the policy, which allows patients to be seen by a GP on a one-off basis without registering.

A spokesman for NHS England said the results of the pilot in Tower Hamlets were being evaluated ahead of a decision due this summer.