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How to remove patients

Published on 27 July 2021

You may remove patients from a GP practice for various reasons in accordance with the regulations.

We provide services to practices to update the Community Health Index (CHI) with the reasons for removal.

Typical reasons, as per The National Health Service (General Medical Services Contracts) (Scotland) Regulations 2004, are outlined below.

At the request of the contractor (GP practice)

The practice must have reasonable grounds for removal and should warn and inform the patient. Once notified, we remove the patient from the practice list on CHI, which sends an electronic message to the practice clinical system.

Confirmation is then sent to the patient, and removal takes place on the eighth day following receipt of the request.

If the patient has been violent

The practice must involve the police or procurator fiscal in cases of violence. We'll remove the patient immediately from the practice on the CHI, and write to the patient.

Depending on local board arrangements, patients may be automatically assigned, or referred to another GP practice.

If the patient registers elsewhere

If a patient registers elsewhere, that registration will automatically remove the patient from the previous GP practice and an electronic message will be sent.

At this point, the CHI has been updated and the registration transferred to the new GP practice. A patient can only register with one practice at a time.

If they move out of the GP practice’s area

If the patient moves away from the GP practice area, we'll inform the practice. We'll also let the patient know that they have 30 days to register elsewhere.

If the 30 days elapse with no update we'll remove the patient from the practice list on CHI, which will send an electronic message to the practice clinical system.

We are piloting a new process from our Edinburgh regional office and a template is available for use by NHS Lothian, Borders, Fife and Forth Valley practices.

Get the Geographical Removal template here

If the patient is no longer known to be at the address held

If the patient is no longer known to be at their address, we'll inform the GP practice that the patient will be removed six months after the date if there is no change or update to the patient record.

We don't inform patients as their whereabouts are unknown.

If they are absent from the UK, join the armed forces or die

In these cases the patient will be removed from the GP practice list on CHI, which will send an electronic message to the GP practice clinical system.

If the patient has moved for longer than three months

If a patient moves ‘temporarily’ for longer than three months, they can be removed by informing us. The patient will be removed from the practice list on CHI, which will send an electronic message to the GP practice clinical system.

We'll also write to the new address, if accurate, to inform the patient.

If they are pupils, staff or residents of a school

If a patient does not appear on the list of pupils, staff or residents at a school (provided by the school), we'll remove the patient from the GP practice list on CHI.

As above, this sends an electronic message to the practice clinical system.

Where the removal is requested or confirmed by your GP practice, you should inform us to action the removal and the reasons. This can be done by letter or system message. Do not remove the patient from your GP practice clinical system, as this doesn't currently transfer to our team to update CHI.

At the request of the patient

Patients occasionally request that they be removed from their practice and they can do this. The patient should provide a written or email request to the practice which should be forwarded to Practitioner Services. The patient will be removed from the practice list on the CHI 14 days later, which sends an electronic message to the practice clinical system. Practitioner Services will write to the patient.

Get in touch with our team

The Practitioner Services team can provide advice and support. Find your relevant contact and get in touch.