General Practitioners: Faversham and Mid Kent

Department of Health and Social Care written question – answered on 20th February 2019.

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Photo of Helen Whately Helen Whately Vice-Chair, Conservative Party

To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, how many patients are registered with each GP in Faversham and Mid Kent Constituency; and what assessment he has made of the adequacy of the number of GPs per head of population.

Photo of Helen Whately Helen Whately Vice-Chair, Conservative Party

To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what estimate he has made of the average number of patients seen at each GP practice in the Faversham and Mid Kent constituency per day; and what guidance his Department provides on the safe number of patient contacts.

Photo of Steve Brine Steve Brine The Parliamentary Under-Secretary for Health and Social Care

The number of patients registered to individual general practitioners (GPs) is not collected or held centrally. The number of patients registered in each GP practice in England is published monthly in NHS Digital’s ‘Patients Registered at a GP Practice’ publication. Practices are grouped according to their clinical commissioning group not parliamentary constituency.

Each general practice is required to provide services to meet the reasonable needs of their registered population. There is no recommendation for how many patients a GP should have, as the demand each patient places on their GP is different and can be affected by various factors, including rurality and patient demographics. The workforce required for each practice to meet patient needs also includes a range of health professionals in addition to GPs themselves, and the best skill mix is for practices to determine.

The average number of patients seen at each GP practice in the Faversham and Mid Kent constituency per day is not held centrally. The average number of appointments per day is only available nationally or for individual clinical commissioning groups.

General practices are independent contractors to the National Health Service and their contracts require them to provide essential and additional services at such times within core hours, as are appropriate to meet the reasonable needs of patients. Core hours for GP practices contracted under General Medical Services (GMS) contracts are defined as 8:00 – 18:30, Monday – Friday, excluding weekends and bank holidays. Core hours for locally negotiated Personal Medical Services and Alternative Provider Medical Services are set out in their contract but largely mirror GMS opening hours or longer.

It is for each practice to determine any appointments system which they feel best meets the needs of their patients. Also, it is for GP practices to organise the delivery of their services to meet the terms of their contracts and to meet quality and safety standards set by the Care Quality Commission. Contractually, GP practices should report any disruption in the delivery of their services which could compromise their ability to meet the needs of their patients. GP practices may seek support from their local commissioner, including agreement to close the practice list to new patients or temporary suspension of patient registrations.

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