Out of Area Registration

The Patient Choice Scheme will allow GP practices to register new patients who live outside the practice area, without any obligation to provide home visits or out of hours services when the patient is unable to attend their registered practice.

The pilot for the Patient Choice Scheme ran during 2012 and 2013 in designated areas in England. As a result of its findings and the recent changes to the GP contract, the roll-out of the scheme across the whole of England was set as 1 October 2014 but NHS England then postponed it until 5 January 2015.

The Area Team for Nottinghamshire and Derbyshire recently held a meeting for local practices to explain the changes. Click on the highlighted link to view the AT’s presentation.

Final guidance has now been issued:

Update: The following guidance on how practices should proceed have now been issued by the BMA.

  • What are the new General Medical Services Regulations?
    The new regulations require GP practices to determine whether it is clinically appropriate or practical to accept an application from a patient for out of area registration without the requirement to provide home visits or urgent GP services at their place of residence.
    NHS England is responsible for procuring urgent GP services and home visiting should the patient need to be seen in their area of residence.
    As stated above, whilst the new regulations are already in place, NHS England does not currently consider it appropriate to register out of area patients under the new regulation as, until services for patients that register out of area are confirmed to be in place nationally, the criteria to set aside home visits cannot be met.
  • What GP practices should do

Although the regulations remain in place, a practice should only register out of area patients after they have sought and obtained assurances from area teams that arrangements for urgent GP services including home visits are in place for individual patients at their place of residence.
Practices are therefore strongly advised that they should not currently register any patients under the new regulation.