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The Health Services (Choice of Medical Practitioner) Regulations (Northern Ireland) 1998

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Assignment of persons to doctors

4.—(1) Where–

(a)a person whose name is not included in a doctor’s list has been refused acceptance by a doctor for inclusion in his doctor’s list; or

(b)a person whose name is included in a doctor’s list, but who wishes to change doctor, has been refused acceptance by a doctor for inclusion in his doctor’s list; or

(c)a person has applied to a doctor under regulation 6(1) to be accepted by him as a temporary resident and that application has been refused,

he may apply in writing to the Agency for assignment to a doctor.

(2) On receipt of an application for assignment to a doctor, the Agency shall–

(a)subject to paragraph (4), assign the applicant to any doctor with whom a board has made arrangements for the provision of general medical services, and notify the doctor and the applicant accordingly; or

(b)require a pilot scheme provider to assign the applicant in accordance with regulation 5 to a doctor who performs personal medical services in connection with a pilot scheme to which the pilot scheme provider is a party.

(3) In deciding on the doctor to whom a person should be assigned or, as the case may be, the pilot scheme provider who should be required to make such an assignment, the Agency shall have regard to–

(a)the respective distances between the person’s residence and the practice premises of the doctors in the part of the board’s area in question;

(b)whether during the period of six months ending on the date on which the application for assignment is received by the Agency the person’s name has been removed from the doctor’s list of any doctor in that part of the area at the request of that doctor or, as the case may be, a pilot scheme provider; and

(c)such other matters as the Agency considers to be relevant.

(4) No person may be assigned to a doctor by the Agency under this regulation without the consent of the Department, if the number of persons whose names are already included in the doctor’s list of that doctor is equal to or greater than the maximum prescribed in relation to that doctor by regulation 23 of the GMS Regulations.

(5) Where–

(a)the Department refuses its consent for the purposes of paragraph (4); or

(b)a pilot scheme provider is unable to comply, in accordance with regulation 5, with a requirement to assign an applicant to a doctor,

and the Agency is satisfied, after due inquiry, that the person concerned still wishes to be assigned to a doctor it shall as soon as practicable assign, or require the assignment of, that person to another doctor in accordance with the provisions of this regulation.

(6) A doctor to whom a person is assigned under this regulation or regulation 5 shall not be required to provide child health surveillance services, contraceptive services, maternity medical services or minor surgery services for that person, unless–

(a)he has accepted him for the provision of such services under the GMS Regulations(1); or

(b)he is obliged to provide those services to him in connection with a pilot scheme.

(7) Where–

(a)a doctor has requested the Agency to remove a person’s name from his doctor’s list under paragraph 10 of Schedule 2 to the GMS Regulations; or

(b)a pilot scheme provider has requested the Agency to remove a person’s name from a doctor’s list or a pooled list under corresponding provisions of a pilot scheme(2),

the Agency shall take all reasonable steps to assign, or to require the assignment of, the person to another doctor before the end of the working day after the day on which the Agency receives notification from the doctor or the pilot scheme provider under paragraph 10(1) of Schedule 2 to the GMS Regulations or corresponding provisions of a pilot scheme, or as soon as possible thereafter; and the provisions of this regulation shall apply as if the person had applied for an assignment.

(8) The Agency may exempt from the liability to have persons assigned to him under this regulation any doctor who provides general medical services and who applies to the Agency for that purpose.

(9) In considering an application under paragraph (8) the Agency shall have regard to–

(a)the doctor’s age and state of health;

(b)the number of persons whose names are included in his doctor’s list; and

(c)where the application relates only to a specified person whose name has previously been removed from his doctor’s list, the circumstances of that removal,

and the Agency shall notify any such doctor in writing of any decision under this paragraph.


See regulations 27, 28, 34 and 36 respectively


See paragraph 11(3) of the directions to Health and Social Services Boards concerning the implementation of pilot schemes (personal medical services), given by the Department of Health and Social Services on 19th November 1998

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