Responding to Firearms Certificate Letters from Thames Valley Police
Date sent: Tuesday 29 November 2016
To All BBOLMC Practices
|Issue date: 29.11.16|
I wrote to all practices on 21/11/16 (See email below)
Work on the issue has continued within GPC and our reps there have suggested TV GPs use the following text in reply to the TV Police letter (also attached).
Thank you for your request for a medical report on the above patient. You have asked me if I have any concerns regarding the issuing of a firearms licence to this individual, and you therefore seek my professional opinion rather than a simple report of the medical facts.
It is widely accepted that the major clinical issue giving rise to the improper use of firearms is the presence of a personality disorder. To give a professional opinion on such a diagnosis one would need to conduct a specific examination for personality disorder and have special expertise. Such expertise would, at a minimum, require approval under section 12 of the Mental Health Act 1983 (as amended 2007).
I regret to inform you that I am not approved under sec 12 MHA, nor have I conducted an examination appropriate for the diagnosis of personality disorder in this person. I am therefore not qualified to offer the expert professional opinion you seek and would suggest that you approach an appropriately qualified psychiatrist who may be able to help you in this regard.
This is in line with the position of our representative body, the General Practitioners Committee of the British Medical Association, who state:
“The interpretation of medical evidence to assist the Chief Constable in their decision regarding the grant or renewal of a firearms or shotgun certificate should be undertaken by an appropriately qualified medical practitioner who is not the patient's General Practitioner. The role of the GP is to continue to provide access to the applicant's full medical record, in line with statutory legislation”
I am, of course happy to provide copies of the medical record to assist with such an assessment. However this will require the patient’s consent and payment of a fee.
Dr Paul Roblin
Tel: 07799116597 or 01628 475727
From: firstname.lastname@example.org [mailto:email@example.com]
Sent: 21 November 2016 13:12
Subject: Interim LMC Guidance on Police requests to GPs about Firearms Certificates
To all BBOLMC Practices Issue date: 21.11.16
Key elements of the Thames Valley Police firearms letter to GPs are boxed below
The actual letter is attached
It is now sent to the GP before any firearms certificate is granted
It reassures the GP that consent has been obtained ‘to contact the GP and seek factual details of the applicant’s medical history’
It asks the GP if he/she has concerns about the applicant being issued with a firearms certificate
It says any issue of cost is a matter between the GP and the patient (applicant)
It says that if you do not respond to this letter within 21 days it will be assumed that you have no relevant information and your patient’s application will proceed to grant.
It asks you to place a firearm code on the patient’s record
It asks you to contact the police immediately (so they can review the person’s suitability) if the patient begins to suffer from a relevant listed medical condition or if there are any other factors that give rise to concern,
It asks you to let the police know as soon as possible if the patient is no longer registered with the practice
The BMA Professional Fees Committee recently and controversially changed their website guidance on the GP response to such letters
That new guidance can be found at https://www.bma.org.uk/advice/employment/ethics/ethics-a-to-z/firearms
My 16/11/16 email to you on this can be found at https://www.bbolmc.co.uk/email5266
The GPC has now convened a new Task and Finish Group to review that guidance again. (That is why I am using the term Interim LMC Guidance)
My current understanding is as follows
The 2015 GP regulations say the following
Compliance with legislation and guidance
94. The contractor must— (a) comply with all relevant legislation; and (b) have regard to all relevant guidance issued by the Board, the Secretary of State or local authorities in respect of the exercise of their functions under the Act.
(This wording is mirrored in paragraph of 19.1.2. the GMS Contract)
You will note that there are two parts to it, namely comply with the law and have regard to guidance.
I am told there is nothing in the Firearms Act that applies to GPs, so therefore there can be nothing specific to them that GPs have to comply with.
Home Office Firearms Guidance can be found at https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/518193/Guidance_on_Firearms_Licensing_Law_April_2016_v20.pdf
See Annex C on page 268
Any work involved in responding to the Police's letter (indicating whether there are any concerns and that a code on the patient's medical record has been added), is not funded under Global Sum and may be charged for
The circumstances where a GP can charge are described in paragraph 25 of the 2015 regulations
which is copied below
25. The contractor may demand or accept (directly or indirectly) a fee or other remuneration—
BMA lawyers believe that where a fee for the relevant services has not been provided within the terms of the GMS contract, it may be requested and that the GP can withhold such services until such time as the fee has been paid (by the requester).
I have therefore revised the GP response template that I issued in May 2016 (See https://www.bbolmc.co.uk/email4331)ant
That revision is boxed below
Similar documents from Devon LMC can be found in the firearms section of the LMC library at http://www.devonlmc.org/library_p5049.html?a=0
Dear TV Police
I am replying to your request for information before issuing a firearms certificate to my patient
For the avoidance of doubt, this reply does not indicate either the presence of absence of concerns about this patient
Clause 19.1.2 of my GMS Contract is relevant to your request
It can be found on page 190 of
It says 19.1.2. The Contractor may demand or accept a fee or other remuneration—a) from any statutory body for services rendered for the purposes of that body’s statutory functions;
Where a fee for the relevant services has not been provided within the terms of the GMS contract, it may be demanded and the GP can withhold such services until such time as the fee has been paid by the requester.
My fee for the service you request is £XXX
I would be pleased to comply with your request once I have received confirmation that you will honour my fee
Possible addition at the discretion of each practice
Please note that until the GP Committee of the BMA (the GP representative body) has found a negotiated solution that takes into consideration GP workload, resources and indemnity concerns, we are not putting any codes on the records nor will we be reviewing the records now or routinely in the future
We suggest that the Home Office and national representatives of police forces engage with the GPC to find a solution that is acceptable for all sides involved in this long standing issue.
Dr Paul Roblin
Tel: 07799116597 or 01628 475727
Attached file: TV-letter-to-GPs-re-Firearms-Licensing.docx