Huge number of ‘ghost patients’ registered at Havering GPs

PUBLISHED: 07:00 23 March 2018

Photo: PA

Photo: PA

PA Wire/PA Images

There are almost 25,000 more patients registered to NHS services in Havering than there are people in the borough, according to newly released patient records.

So-called “ghost patients”, who are registered at a surgery but have either died or moved, are a serious problem for the NHS, which allocates money to surgeries on the basis of how many patients are on their books.

The most recent estimates indicate the population of Havering Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) is 252,783 - but there were 277,449 patients registered with GP surgeries in the area on 1 February 2018.

This means up to 24,666 of these could be ghost patients, 9pc of all those registered.

The Office for National Statistics (ONS) last updated its population estimates in mid 2016, so it is possible that population growth may account for some ghost patients.

But analysis of ONS figures shows that, between 2011 and 2016, the population grew by 1.2pc on average each year, so it is unlikely this accounts for all extra patients.

GP surgeries receive funding based on the number of people registered, while also taking into account key patient demographics like gender, age and disability.

Havering CCG was allocated £36.45million from the NHS based on the number of registered patients in 2016/2017.

The funding formula is revised annually but based on these figures, the CCG would receive around £36.35 million for patients on the register in the coming financial year.

But if the population figure was used instead of the patient register it would be £33.12 million.

This means as much as £3.23 million would be allocated to ghost patients.

The health service has found no evidence that doctors are deliberately inflating patient numbers, and blames ghost patients on poor record keeping.

“Some people may be slow to re-register at other GP practices, despite having moved away from the area, as they are relatively healthy and do not see re-registration as a priority”, a report into the issue by the ONS found.

“People who live abroad, who are required to de-register from their GP practice, fail to do so either because they do not see it as a priority when moving abroad or because they wish to have continued access to the NHS.”


Welcome , please leave your message below.

Optional - JPG files only
Optional - MP3 files only
Optional - 3GP, AVI, MOV, MPG or WMV files

Please log in to leave a comment and share your views with other Romford Recorder visitors.

We enable people to post comments with the aim of encouraging open debate.

Only people who register and sign up to our terms and conditions can post comments. These terms and conditions explain our house rules and legal guidelines.

Comments are not edited by Romford Recorder staff prior to publication but may be automatically filtered.

If you have a complaint about a comment please contact us by clicking on the Report This Comment button next to the comment.

Not a member yet?

Register to create your own unique Romford Recorder account for free.

Signing up is free, quick and easy and offers you the chance to add comments, personalise the site with local information picked just for you, and more.

Sign up now

Latest Romford News Stories

48 minutes ago

Burke told police officers that he wasn’t sure if it was himself, or another man driving at the time.


Emergency services were called to the crash at around 7.30 this morning.


A habitat creation scheme hopes to bring a new haven of wildlife to the Rainham Marshes with the creation of more than 5km2 of continuous habitats.


If you’re a fan of all things paranormal then this chilling ghost story could be one for you.

Jamie Brown of Archant Local Impact explains how you can build brand awareness.

Excrement on the walls, homeless men living in the boiler cupboards and a broken security system which means anyone can enter the block as and when they please – welcome to life at Romford’s Charrington Court.

Yesterday, 17:25

Police and ambulance services were in the town centre this afternoon.

Yesterday, 17:03

One car crashed through the wall after being chased by police, and the other was a stolen vehicle.


Vauxhall has completed its sport utility vehicle range with the third, and largest, Grandland X. We put the SUV, now available at Tony LeVoi in Romford, to the test.

“The time to repair the roof is when the sun is shining,” so the saying goes. So if some warm weather is making your conservatory uninhabitable, think about replacing its roof with a flat one and adding a roof lantern instead.

The next step in renewable energy could be right beneath your feet as you walk through a Romford shopping centre.

Newsletter Sign Up

Romford Recorder twice-weekly newsletter
Sign up to receive our regular email newsletter

Our Privacy Policy

Most read news

Show Job Lists

Education Promo

News from your area

Digital Edition


Enjoy the
Romford Recorder
e-edition today


Education and Training


Read the
Education and Training
e-edition today

Read Now