Expecting GPs to follow up tests ordered in hospital 'unacceptable', consultants told

NHS leaders in Cheshire have told hospital consultants they must not ask GPs to follow up hospital-requested tests after abnormal results were missed.

Blood test: consultants warned over expecting GPs to follow up tests (photo: iStock)
Blood test: consultants warned over expecting GPs to follow up tests (photo: iStock)

Last month GP revealed findings from a survey of over 600 GPs that showed 85% had been asked to follow up hospital test results.

CCG and hospital trust leaders in Cheshire have written to all GPs and consultants to clarify responsibilities, warning that asking GPs to follow up tests arranged by hospitals is 'not acceptable'.

The letter from Vale Royal CCG chairman Dr Jonathan Griffiths, South Cheshire CCG chairman Dr Andrew Wilson, and Mid Cheshire Hospital Foundation Trust medical director Dr Paul Dodd, said: ‘Following examples of abnormal investigation results being missed by doctors, we felt that it was important to clarify where the responsibility lies for dealing with results of patient investigations.

‘We would like to remind all clinicians that whoever requests an investigation is responsible for acting upon the result.'

Read more: unfunded GP services

The letter added: ‘For absolute clarity, it is not acceptable to ask the GP to chase up and deal with the result of an investigation arranged by the hospital when the patient is discharged.’

Dr Griffiths told GP the letter clarified responsibilities on all sides, also reminding GPs they were responsible for results if they ordered the test, such as an open access investigation.

‘There have been anecdotal examples over time of investigations that have then not been acted upon,' said Dr Griffiths. ‘So, abnormals that have fallen through the gap where a GP has thought: "The hospital arranged that so they are responsible for that", or the hospital thought: "We sent it to the GP", and it has not been actioned at all.’

The move comes after the GPC published guidance for practices on how to push back against inappropriately referred and unfunded workload.

Cheshire CCGs are also organising a GP-consultant job swap, to improve doctors' understanding of the pressure their counterparts in other parts of the NHS are under.

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