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Patients Threatened With Being Struck Off From GPs

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7:00am 25th March 2014

Pirate FM has learnt Cornish patients are getting letters threatening to strip them of their GP.

Officials are supposed to be checking our address.

But they warn if they do not get a reply in four weeks - we will be taken off the surgery's list.

Bosses on the "List Maintenance Programme" say it is because of important information like test results.

But campaigners say it would be easier and less intimidating to check directly with the doctor's.

Debbie Pritchard is from Healthwatch Cornwall. She said: "What will worry patients is if they don't read the letter properly they will be taken off the list and then they might go back to the GP and find they are no longer registered.

"People tend to skim information and don't read it properly - you do have to reply.

"I think GPs are aware of the number of patients on the list. That generates the income they need - they need to know that income is safe and secure to run the practice and all the additional services they offer.

"You would think GPs would be in charge of their own patients - that does seem to be the sensible way of doing it."

The letter warns patients: "If you do not respond within four weeks from the date of this letter then we will assume that you have moved away and we will begin the process of removing you from your GP's list."

After being contacted by Pirate FM health officials have admitted people will be contacted twice more before that process begins.

Duchy Director of Commissing Bridget Sampson said: "If people don't respond they would get a second letter. If they don't respond to the second letter then we would in fact go to the GP practice. It would only be as a result of that communication any changes are made.

She explained who the scheme is aimed at: "Largely younger people who haven't been to the surgery for a long time and people who are non-responders to call and recall for screening. It's nothing to worry about and it's literally just to sort out that we've got accurate records."

7:00am 25th March 2014

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