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Kingston GP's anger over 'dumped' care-home patients
A GP claims he could face the prospect of legal action if he refuses to treat elderly care home residents who he says were “dumped” on him by another practice.
A total of 48 patients of the 61 elderly and vulnerable people living in Kingston Care Home are being de-registered by one of the largest GPs in Kingston and moved on to the lists of six smaller GPs.
Churchill Medical Practice, run by Charles Alessi, one of the GPs advising health secretary Andrew Lansley on NHS reforms, took the decision to pass on its patients based on resources, according to an NHS spokesman.
The decision has been referred to NHS South West London by a GP support group after the six other practices, believed to include Fairhill, Canbury and Richmond Road practices, complained.
Dr Gabriel Steer, of Brackendale surgery, who was told he was initially taking on 10 patients before it was negotiated down to five, said: “We are getting dumped on by Churchill. If they are so stretched how have they got the resources to take on other practices?
“I look after my patients. I don’t dump them on others. It is like a marriage, for better or for worse.
“If I refuse to treat them I shall be acting illegally.”
No one from Churchill Medical Practice was available for comment.
An NHS Kingston Primary Care Trust (PCT) spokesman said: “The NHS has a responsibility to ensure all patients, especially vulnerable ones, get the support they need.
“We have worked with six GP practices in the area to share the patients between them. NHS practices are contractually obliged to accept patients in their catchment area.”
Dr Julius Parker, chief executive of Surrey and Sussex Local Medical Committee, said: “I can confirm we have been contacted by a number of practices that are concerned.
“We’re raising this with the south-west London cluster and asking them to investigate what has happened and whether it is in accordance with the regulations.”
A spokesman for Four Seasons, which runs the care home in Jemmett Close, said the allocation of patients was a matter for the PCT.
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