'GPs denying care to those who complain': Survey shows that doctors are striking off patients regarded as 'troublesome'

THOUSANDS of patients including the chronically sick, the old and the mentally ill are being removed from doctors' lists, often without explanation, according to the patients' watchdog, the community health councils.

The survey, published today, says those most likely to be struck off the lists are often patients who have complained.

The report comes only four days after William Reid, the health services ombudsman, launched a fierce attack on the way the National Health Service handles complaints in his annual report. The National Association of Community Health Councils of England and Wales says that in the last year more than three-quarters of the CHCs have dealt with cases of patients being removed from lists. In Manchester, 1,700 people are known to have been removed against their wishes.

It is common that when one patient goes the whole family is removed. Toby Harris, director of the association, said yesterday: 'It is hugely unfair the way some GPs treat their patients. You can even get struck off for being too ill. What is more, once you have been struck off it is difficult to persuade other doctors to take you on. You get labelled as a troublemaker.'

The report says it is difficult to obtain accurate information on how many people are removed against their will, as 92 per cent of CHCs do not regularly receive this information from the local family health service authorities, which administer the GP services and are charged with helping patients to register with doctors if assigning GPs is necessary.

Half of the patients known to the CHCs had problems finding another doctor. One family was finally allocated a doctor eight miles away. The report says that excluded patients fell into specific groups. 'These included people with mental illness, so-called 'difficult' patients, and elderly people. One CHC reported: 'Some GPs' perception of patients who have been removed from lists is that they must be troublemakers'.'

A spokesman for the National Association of Health Authorities and Trusts, which represents family health service authorities, says that patients should not be struck off on grounds of expense or risk. It had no evidence of this happening in fund-holding general practices. 'Patients can sometimes be struck off because they are disruptive or abrasive to others.'

Philip Hunt, director of the association, said that sometimes the doctor-patient relationship broke down irretrievably, but 'usually it is the patient who withdraws first'. Dr Ian Bogle, chairman of the British Medical Association's GPs committee, said: 'In the vast majority of cases patients are only removed from a GP's list when the doctor-patient relationship has broken down. Many GPs do give patients reasons why they are removed, despite having no obligation to do so.'

Leading article, page 17

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA celebration of British elections
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Ashdown Group: Marketing Manager (B2B) - Romford - £40,000 + car

£35000 - £40000 per annum + car and benefits: Ashdown Group: Marketing Manager...

Ashdown Group: Helpdesk Analyst - Devon - £20,000

£18000 - £20000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Helpdesk Analyst - Devon - £20,000 ...

Ashdown Group: Data Scientist - London - £50,000 + bonus

£35000 - £50000 per annum + generous bonus: Ashdown Group: Business Analytics ...

Ashdown Group: IT Project Coordinator (Software Development) - Kingston

£45000 - £50000 per annum: Ashdown Group: IT Project Coordinator (Software Dev...

Day In a Page

General Election 2015: Ed Miliband's unlikely journey from hapless geek to heart-throb

Miliband's unlikely journey from hapless geek to heart-throb

He was meant to be Labour's biggest handicap - but has become almost an asset
General Election 2015: A guide to the smaller parties, from the the National Health Action Party to the Church of the Militant Elvis Party

On the margins

From Militant Elvis to Women's Equality: a guide to the underdogs standing in the election
Amr Darrag: Ex-Muslim Brotherhood minister in exile still believes Egypt's military regime can be replaced with 'moderate' Islamic rule

'This is the battle of young Egypt for the future of our country'

Ex-Muslim Brotherhood minister Amr Darrag still believes the opposition can rid Egypt of its military regime and replace it with 'moderate' Islamic rule, he tells Robert Fisk
Why patients must rely less on doctors: Improving our own health is the 'blockbuster drug of the century'

Why patients must rely less on doctors

Improving our own health is the 'blockbuster drug of the century'
Sarah Lucas is the perfect artist to represent Britain at the Venice Biennale

Flesh in Venice

Sarah Lucas has filled the British pavilion at the Venice Biennale with slinky cats and casts of her female friends' private parts. It makes you proud to be a woman, says Karen Wright
11 best anti-ageing day creams

11 best anti-ageing day creams

Slow down the ageing process with one of these high-performance, hardworking anti-agers
Juventus 2 Real Madrid 1: Five things we learnt, including Iker Casillas is past it and Carlos Tevez remains effective

Juventus vs Real Madrid

Five things we learnt from the Italian's Champions League first leg win over the Spanish giants
Ashes 2015: Test series looks a lost cause for England... whoever takes over as ECB director of cricket

Ashes series looks a lost cause for England...

Whoever takes over as ECB director of cricket, says Stephen Brenkley
Fishing for votes with Nigel Farage: The Ukip leader shows how he can work an audience as he casts his line to the disaffected of Grimsby

Fishing is on Nigel Farage's mind

Ukip leader casts a line to the disaffected
Who is bombing whom in the Middle East? It's amazing they don't all hit each other

Who is bombing whom in the Middle East?

Robert Fisk untangles the countries and factions
China's influence on fashion: At the top of the game both creatively and commercially

China's influence on fashion

At the top of the game both creatively and commercially
Lord O’Donnell: Former cabinet secretary on the election and life away from the levers of power

The man known as GOD has a reputation for getting the job done

Lord O'Donnell's three principles of rule
Rainbow shades: It's all bright on the night

Rainbow shades

It's all bright on the night
'It was first time I had ever tasted chocolate. I kept a piece, and when Amsterdam was liberated, I gave it to the first Allied soldier I saw'

Bread from heaven

Dutch survivors thank RAF for World War II drop that saved millions
Britain will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power - Labour

How 'the Axe' helped Labour

UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power