GPs 'share blame' for ISTCs' failure

GPs share the blame for the failure of the Independent Sector Treatment Centre (ISTC) because they did not refer enough patients, according to a business lobby group.

In a report published this week the CBI argued that the centres had rated highly with patients. But it said that much of their capacity went unused because of resistance to the programme among commissioners.

The report argues that PCTs and GPs ‘should not be able to block patients from choosing independent providers for fear their established ways of working will be threatened'. It also calls for commissioners to be ‘incentivised' to refer patients to ISTCs, and raises the possibility of adding a referral target to the quality and framework.

Dr Richard Vautrey, GPC deputy chairman, rejected claims that GPs were responsible for the centres' failure. ‘One reason why they failed is that patients didn't want to go there. They prefer to go to their local hospital,' he said.

CBI website

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