West Lancashire MP Rosie Cooper has warned that patients living in West Lancashire who choose to register with online GPs based outside the area risk losing out on certain support from West Lancashire CCG or the North West Ambulance Service (NWAS).
The unforeseen effect on registering with an online GP out of the area, is that West Lancashire CCG does not represent or work with this online practice, as its partners are all West Lancashire based GPs.
MP Rosie has recently been contacted by a constituent who reports he had his NWAS transport provision to a referral appointment in Chorley cancelled at the last minute once it was identified that his online GP was registered in London, and so West Lancashire CCG refused to cover the cost of the transfer.
West Lancashire MP Rosie Cooper said:
“This highlights the unexplained difficulties with an online GP and one which has meant that an important medical appointment may have been missed by the patient and cost the NHS money due to internal financial policies. The Secretary of State should remedy these deficiencies or ensure that there is a duty to explain the consequences of an online or out of area GP service.
“West Lancashire CCG should not be denying support to residents who exercise their right to choose to access their GP provision elsewhere, be it online or otherwise, particularly when registering with a GP app widely promoted by Health Secretary Matt Hancock.
“Patients should however consider this unforeseen effect before choosing to move. I have written to the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, who has been an advocate of this type of online GP system, to ask how he plans to mitigate the effects or at the very least ensure they are made clear to patients before they do move.
“I have also written to West Lancashire CCG to ask that they review this policy on provision of ambulance transfers and whether it serves the best interests of residents and patients in West Lancashire.”