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GP practice boundaries could be scrapped

Improvements in the NHS mean patients will be able to choose which doctor to register with regardless of their location, under plans proposed by health secretary Andy Burnham.

With the suggested changes, GP practice boundaries would be lifted over the next 12 months making a visit to the doctor easier for busy mothers or commuting businessmen.

Mr Burnham will say in a speech at The King's Fund in London: "In this day and age I can see no reason why patients should not be able to choose the GP practice they want."

The NHS reform will also focus on the provision of a good "patient experience". Mr Burnham will announce that "significantly more" money will be paid to hospitals with clean and attractive wards, and where doctors and nurses display a pleasant manner to patients.

The health secretary believes a focus on "people-centred care" within the NHS is essential to improve services.

He will say in the speech that services in the NHS over the past 10 years have gone from "poor to good", but that he wants to see the service go from "good to great".

Copyright © Press Association 2009

Kings Fund

We asked if you agree with Andy Burnham. Your comments (terms and conditions apply):

"YES I do, I have been with my GP for over 20 yrs and thought I would have to change GP as my health needed me to move into a bungalow, my GP kept me on, I'm still in the same city, not on the moon" - Katie Smith, York

"If people want more access to one, or more than one GP let them pay for it - then maybe they would keep the appointments! I have had 175 DNAs out of 1,100 in the last 2 months" - Pam Fry, Berkshire

"Another harebrained idea from government, another recipe for chaos." - Marie, Oldham

"Oh dear, here we go go again. Another 'vote-catcher' from a rather desperate government. The previous poster is quite correct - this most certainly hasn't been thought through. Given that a lot of GP work has to be claimed for, can you imagine the extra layers of admin involved as GPs treat pts in several PCTs? The practice managers' blood must be running
cold! And how will budgets be set, when the number/status of registered pts will be both unknown and subject to constant change? As for out of hours visits, don't even think about it! Coupled with the fact that most GPs use different and non cross- surgery compatible IT systems I think this will
die the death of ID cards and other hare brained schemes, hopefully before the next election" - Helen Bovey, Berkshire

"In my opinion just a political gimmick - can you imagine the chaos this will cause with little or no benefit to the delivery of services. It certainly may provide employment for some as practices will have to increase their staffing to cope with any increase in registration services. Exactly who will benefit from continuity of care referrals and monitoring of patients? As I see it the government should be concentrating on educating patients on reducing their dependency on the health service by prevention of ill health and being responsible for their own health and that of their own contribution to the good health of the larger community. No political points from me will be scored on this" - V Henry, London

"It's not as easy as that. What about the community staff who will need to go out to people not in their area? This will mean staff spend more time travelling than actual face to face contact. Once again the government has not thought this through properly" - Chris Forest-Potter, Leicester