TO ALL GPs AND PRACTICE MANAGERS
The LMC have been made aware of several practices who are still having post returned to them.Unfortunately, the problem we have is that the LMC and the Area Team/Shared Services Agency have a different interpretation of the regulations. We believe the post should be returned to them; we also feel this is the quickest way of getting clinical letters back to the correct GP.They disagree that the regulations oblige this and want practices to do this work themselves and at personal cost.
Ouradvice is to return all clinical letters from former patients in the Blue Bags in the first instance as we believe that is your contractual obligation.However if they insist on returning them it would be unwise for practices to then engage in a game of ping pong which could put patient safety at risk. Instead our advice would be to ensure you retain the ethical and high moral ground, putting patient safety paramount and then return the post to sender, advising them that the patient is no longer registered with you, and that it is their responsibility to ascertain the new GP. Advise them to return the post to the Shared Services Agency if their system does not allow them to identify the new practice.
The only way to get this issue resolved is for the Family Health Services Appeals Unit to adjudicate;I would therefore advise that if any such post is returned to you by the SSA after you had sent it to them in the Blue Bag, that you do formally appeal to them through the national contractual dispute process as the LMC has taken all measures possible locally to assist practices in resolving this matter but without success.
I havput links to the relevant regulations below detailing how you should go about a formal dispute.For “Secretary of State” in the regulations read “ Family Health Services Appeals Unit” and substitute “ local Area Team of NHS England/National Commissioning Board” for the PCT.You can include this and all previous email correspondence between the LMC and Area Team, as well as the letter the Area Team sent to practices as background information to inform the FHSAU.
The Address is as follows: Family Health Services Aal, Unit , 1 Trevelyan Square, Boar Lan, Leds, LS 6AE; Tel: 0113 866 5500 - Fax: 020 7821022
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