Thursday, February 23, 2012

GPs make £162m out of 'ghost' patients: Anger over bill for 2.5m non-existent people

The NHS is paying GPs to look after 2.5million ‘ghost’ patients, ministers admitted last night.

Doctors are receiving an estimated £162million a year – footed by the taxpayer – for non-existent patients on their books who have moved house, left the country or been dead for up to 40 years.

The Audit Commission has counted that in a single year at least 95,000 such ‘ghost’ patients were registered with GPs and earning them annual payments. But the Department of Health last night admitted there are probably up to 2.5million such patients on doctors’ lists in England.

Every year GP surgeries are paid an average of £65 for each patient they have on their books, regardless of how often – or whether – they make an appointment or what treatments they receive.

Although there are currently 55million patients registered with GPs, there are only 52.5million actually living in England. Read More