GP referrals fall by 250,000 as PCT pressure mounts

GP referrals to secondary care have fallen sharply in this financial year as PCT pressure on activity takes effect.

DH figures show GP referrals for all specialities fell 3.7% from April to October 2011 compared with the same period last year. This equates to 258,418 fewer referrals by GPs in this time.

In contrast, referrals rose in the same period in 2010, up 4.5% from April-October 2009.

The falls follow PCT pressure on GPs to slash their rates of referral to save costs under the Quality, Innovation, Productivity and Prevention (QIPP) programme.

In July, the Cooperation and Competition Panel found that some commissioners were ‘excessively restricting’ patient choice to save money. In some cases, a number of PCTs had attempted to constrain patient choice by influencing GPs' referral decisions.

GP leaders warned in September that trusts' restrictions on referral for diagnostics risk delaying diagnoses and 'deprofessionalising' GPs.

That same month, CCGs were advised to monitor both member practices and individual GPs' referral and prescribing behaviour in a Dr Foster report.

As a consequence of the referral squeeze, hospitals saw 1.1% fewer outpatient attendances in April-October this year compared with the same period last year.

Have you registered with us yet?

Register now to enjoy more articles and free email bulletins

Register

Already registered?

Sign in

Follow Us:

Just published

Under 40s to be offered alternative to AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine

Under 40s to be offered alternative to AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine

Patients aged 30-39 will be offered an alternative to the Oxford/AstraZeneca COVID-19...

GPs per patient down 10% in just five years, NHS data reveal

GPs per patient down 10% in just five years, NHS data reveal

The number of fully-qualified, full-time equivalent (FTE) GPs per patient in England...

Supportive model must replace harmful CQC inspections, BMA chair warns

Supportive model must replace harmful CQC inspections, BMA chair warns

CQC inspections that ‘divert time away from patient care’ and ‘instil fear’ among...

UK COVID-19 vaccination programme tracker

UK COVID-19 vaccination programme tracker

GPs across the UK are playing a leading role in the largest-ever NHS vaccination...

A 'tsunami' of work is drowning general practice: GPs speak out about a profession at its limit

A 'tsunami' of work is drowning general practice: GPs speak out about a profession at its limit

Rocketing workloads created by huge backlogs of cases and continuing COVID-19 disruption...

Slight increase in GP workforce during past year, but number of partners continues to fall

Slight increase in GP workforce during past year, but number of partners continues to fall

The GP workforce grew by 0.4% in the year to March 2021, but the number of GP partners...