GP replies to TV Police Firearms letters
Date sent: Friday 24 November 2017
To All BBOLMC Practices
|Issue date: 24.11.17
My email earlier today said I would be speaking to Zoey Evans the TV Police Firearms Manager. We have now had a very good conversation
The first thing to say is that I feel she is on our side. She has managed to get the Home Office to agree that individual forces can modify the original mandatory Home Office letter to GPs (the current Thames Valley version is attached).
I also sense a rebellious spirit amongst police forces beyond the Thames Valley over the attitude of the Home Office and Shooting lobby groups.
Her revised letter contains the following boxed text summarising the TV police request
- By submitting the application your patient has given consent for police to contact their GP in order to obtain factual details of their medical history or a copy of their full medical records, and for the GP to provide this information to the police. Any issue of cost is a matter between you and your patient. This consent is valid during the application process and through the duration of the certificate, which lasts for five years.
- If you have any concerns about your patient being issued with a firearm and/or shot gun certificate you will need to respond to this letter within 28 days. Your response letter should be in accordance with the BMA guidelines: https://www.bma.org.uk/advice/employment/ethics/ethics-a-to-z/firearms
- If you do not respond to this letter within 28 days it will be assumed that you have no relevant information and your patients application will proceed to grant.
- Please place a firearm code on the patients record. If the patient begins to suffer from a relevant medical condition (listed overleaf) or if there are any other factors that give rise to concern, please contact the police immediately so that we can review the persons continued suitability. Please use the following firearm codes which can be used with the four main IT systems used in GP practices in England, Wales and Scotland. The Read code should remain on the patient record while the firearm certificate is valid. We will inform you if the certificate is revoked, cancelled or expires, whereupon you should inactivate the Read code.
- I must clarify that I am not asking you to advise me as to whether a certificate should be granted or not. That responsibility rests entirely with the police.
The letter in reply that many of you seem to be using looks my original draft, first written after the BMA made a big mess of its initial negotiation. There was then a hiatus before the BMA advice got to where it is now. My letter was drafted to plug the gap.
However, nowadays one of the 5 BMA letters should serve the purpose of most practices and I suggest people use these. See link above
Zoey and I have agreed to work together. She recognises the pressure GPs are under. Her aim is simplicity for GPs and appropriate remuneration of non-NHS work.
Having heard her logic, I am happy to support her wish to see GPs using one of the 5 BMA firearms replies.
Your comment and feedback on the position I have taken is welcome
Dr Paul Roblin
Tel: 07799116597 or 01628 475727
Attached file: TV Police Firearms info request 241117.doc