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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