As you may not know, Westminster primary care trust, as a local commissioner of NHS services, has a GP contract which dates back many years for the provision of NHS healthcare to Westminster School ('NHS funds exclusive GP practices'), writes Christopher Silcock

The contract is there to provide a service for a specific patient group, namely the boarding pupils and resident boarding staff.

The school's GP practice receives only the nationally negotiated minimum practice income guarantee, its overall contract costs are minimal (for instance, we provide the venue for the surgery in school buildings) and it does not receive other significant payments typical for GP practices, such as reimbursements of premises rent and rates.

Under this GP contract, our boarding pupils and staff have access to the same NHS support to which any member of the public is entitled through their own GP surgery.

Local residents have a choice of family doctors with which to register and have no need to use the school's limited facility. Also, it would not be appropriate for the public to have access to the school surgery, which is inside a boarding house.

The GP practice at Westminster School is not designed to provide an "exclusive" practice with the aim of excluding the general public; it is designed merely to ensure that boarding pupils and staff have access to NHS support according to their need and as is their right.

Christopher Silcock, bursar, Westminster School