At least 100 surgeries applied to stop taking on new patients in 2014/15, an investigation revealed today.
However, nearly half of these (46%) who applied in 2014-2015 either had their request denied or withdrew it, the BBC investigation found.
In order to stop new patients registering to a practice, “the contractor must seek approval from NHS England’s area teams (ATs) in a written application,” NHS England guidance explains.
The application will mention alternative options the contractor has considered, rejected or implemented, the opinion of other local contractors, and patients, and plans to alleviate the difficulties once the list is closed.
The list can be closed for between three to 12 months.
Dr Chaand Nagpaul, chairman of the British Medical Association’s GP committee, reiterated to the BBC that for practices at breaking point – due to patient demand, a lack of resources, and a GP shortage – “closing their list is the only option to maintain safe care to their local community”.