• Thu. Jun 13th, 2024

Elderly couple ordered to switch doctors after 48 years after moving “a matter of metres” from catchment


Aug 4, 2022

An elderly couple were told to change the GP surgery they had used for nearly 50 years after they moved "a matter of metres" from the catchment area.

Anthony Steele, 76, and his wife Angela, 72, joined Long Hanborough Surgery when they lived in Freeland in 1974.

But last December after they moved a short walk from the Bladon-based boundary, the practice told them they could no longer stay as patients.

Mr Steele said: “They seem to think it’s appropriate to get my wife and I to move elsewhere because we’ve had the audacity to move.

“My wife and I moved to close to the Bladon roundabout but considered by those who determine such things to be part of Woodstock. When our GP surgery became aware the practice manager wrote to us insisting we look elsewhere for healthcare as we fell – by only a matter of metres – outside their catchment.”

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The couple say they are concerned that with the amount of new houses that have been built in Long Hanborough other long-term patients will be told to move and said they intend "to resist a flagrant cull” at the practice where they received "exemplary service".

They also informed the practice that they fully appreciate by wishing to stay with the surgery they should not expect home visits.

Mr Steele said: “It is our quite reasonable wish is to remain at the Long Hanborough surgery, thus avoiding the the inevitable likelihood of records being misplaced or going missing."

Dr Amar Latif, GP at the Eynsham Medical Group, which covers the site, said he was unable to discuss specifics due to patient confidentiality, however, in general terms the practice was following NHS guidelines.

He said: “We are sorry to lose patients, particularly if they’ve been with us for a long time, but where do you draw the line.

“Within the guidelines we have to operate within we have a practice boundary and if the patient moves outside it we have to ask them to move elsewhere.

"It is an NHS rule and we do not have a lot of scope outside it."

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He said he believed there had been a scheme for registering with a GP surgery outside the area where you live but the surgery did not subscribe in case they would be unable to offer home visits “particularly as that is when they’re sickest, so it seems perverse”.

“We have to be fair to all our patients and to make sure we offer the best service we can do. It would be very difficult to put in an amendment for one or two patients, where does that end?” he said.

And he added: “We are not allowed to de-register patients. We are, with a little overlap, the only practice between Oxford and Witney, and all those patients are registered with us. We can’t take people off the list.

Dr Latif said it was “flattering” that patients wanted to stay with the practice but they were following NHS guidelines and “overall patients are generally aware of the rules.”

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