Consultants blamed for outpatient appointment rise

Hospital consultants are to blame for the sharp increase in outpatient appointments, not GPs, researchers say.

GP referrals in the UK rose from 7.1 (2003/4) to 8.6 million (2007/8), but the proportion of all NHS referrals made by GPs actually fell, from 68% to 62%, researchers found.

Health data analysts CHKS found the number of referrals from consultants, A&E and other sources rose by a third (32%) over the same period.

GPs were accused over the past year of over-referring, as PCTs found outpatient appointments rising inexplicably.

Some PCTs controversially considered paying GPs to review and reduce their referrals last year.

  • Are consultants to blame for the rise in outpatient appointments?

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