Exclusive: PCTs adding treatment restrictions are in better financial health

PCTs that are expanding their treatment restrictions this year are in better financial health than those not planning to increase restrictions, a GPonline.com investigation has found.

PCTs have introduced new measures to restrict referrals for interventions they deem to be non-urgent or of low clinical value
PCTs have introduced new measures to restrict referrals for interventions they deem to be non-urgent or of low clinical value

Around a third of PCTs are introducing new measures in 2011/12 to restrict GP referrals for interventions they deem to be non-urgent or of low clinical value.

Responses from 111 PCTs to a Freedom of Information Act request reveal that the PCTs imposing new restrictions had larger budget surpluses in 2010/11 than those not expanding restriction criteria.

GPonline.com revealed on Monday that, of 72 PCTs who provided detailed information, 25 had introduced new measures in 2011/12 to restrict referrals for interventions they deem to be non-urgent or of low clinical value.

Analysis of official DoH finance data shows that there was an average budget surplus of £4,072,000 for 2010/11 among the 25 PCTs that do plan to expand the list of treatments they no longer fund.

The average surplus among the 47 PCTs that do not plan to expand their lists of restricted treatments was £2,489,000 in 2010/11. Overall, the average surplus for all PCTs was £3,198,000.

PCTs hope to save an average of £1m each by expanding restrictions on referrals for 'non-urgent' procedures, PCTs’ responses to the Freedom of Information Act request suggest.

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