IDF fights insurers ‘de-listing’ doctors

By Robin Stride

Consultants’ relationships with the private medical insurers continue to top the list of work being tackled by the Independent Doc­tors Federation’s specialists’ group.

Dr Sean Preston, chairman of the IDF’s specialists’ committee

In his annual written report, the group’s chairman Dr Sean Preston said insurers continued to tighten the financial screw.

And numerous doctors, typically the more senior, had complained of being ‘de-listed’ after deciding not to become fee-assured.

‘On several occasions, we have facilitated dialogue between the two parties, but have yet to be successful in “re-listing”,’ he admitted.

‘Patients are also victims of this process, as they are often prevented from seeing their consultant of choice; particularly ironic if they have signed up to an “open referral” pathway.’

Dr Preston, a gastroenterologist at London Digestive Centre – part of HCA Healthcare UK, reported that younger new IDF members often faced a difficult decision whether or not to sign up to insurers’ significantly lower fees schedules or look for potentially more lucrative and less stressful work as part of NHS waiting list initiatives.

He said his committee’s priority had been to open talks with all insurers. ‘The most significant progress has been with AXA PPP, where there has been successful negotiation of procedure fees and recognition of quality matrices and the benefits to all of working in groups.’