GPs are being paid millions of pounds to treat an estimated 2.5 million patients who do not exist, costing the NHS an addition £162 million a year.
Taxpayers are paying GPs to treat patients who do not exist
An investigation by the Audit Commission, the Government’s spending watchdog, has found that in a single year there were at least 95,000 ‘ghost’ patients who were registered with GPs and earning them annual payments. The Department of Health has admitted this figure may be up to 2.5 million.
Every year, GP surgeries are paid on average £65 for each patient they have on their books, regardless of how often they make an appointment or get treated.
But the Audit Commission found 55 million people registered with a doctor in England, despite the population being just 52.5m. This means the NHS is potentially wasting £162.5million every year on ghost patients.
The watchdog found 32,668 dead patients on registered lists, including 157 who had died more than 30 years ago. Officials came across one surgery which was being paid every year to treat a patient who had died in 1969.
Almost 30,000 patients had moved house and were registered with a different GP, but both their old and new GP were being paid for treating them. Another 10,000 failed asylum seekers were on the books, even though they had been returned to their own country.
The investigation, called the National Duplicate Registration Initiative (NDRI), found that doctors had been deliberately keeping patients on their books to earn themselves extra cash. Katherine Murphy, chief executive of the Patients Association, said:
‘At a time when the NHS is being asked to make huge efficiency savings the Government needs to provide answers as to how money was wasted in this way.’
The average UK taxpayer pays around £1,300 a year to use the NHS, and their money will be spent funding these non-existing patients.
With the health service having to save £20 billion by 2015, financial pressure means GPs have been blacklisting essential drugs, cancer patient operations are being cancelled, and outpatient appointments are being postponed.
Instead of relying on the NHS for treatment, compare health insurance online to take control of your healthcare, and where your money is being spent.
© ActiveQuote Ltd. 2012