NHS Constitution could undermine GPs' judgment

GPs could be compelled to reveal to patients full details of their reasons for making urgent cancer referrals, under plans being mooted by the DoH.

Dr Brian Balmer: legislation on sensitive issues is unworkable
Dr Brian Balmer: legislation on sensitive issues is unworkable

In its consultation on the NHS Constitution the DoH is seeking views on how GPs communicate with patients about referrals.

In some cases GPs do not tell patients why they are making the urgent referral in case it causes them undue stress or worry.

But the consultation document says: 'This means a number of patients are left unaware of the urgency of their referral, and may choose to delay their initial appointment with a specialist.'

It calls for views on whether GPs should be ‘required to provide specific information to patients about their rights and what the two week waiting time means'.

GPs condemned the idea as undermining their professional judgment. Essex LMCs chief executive and GPC member Dr Brian Balmer described it as ‘madness'. ‘To suggest that you can legislate on a sensitive discussion between a doctor and a patient is unworkable,' he said.

Sheila Williams, director of Wessex LMCs, said: ‘We would not support any blanket law. It goes against the needs of an individual patient and takes away from GPs the fundamental rule of providing the best care for each patient.'

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

The team at Minehead Medical Centre

Somerset GP practice converts to John Lewis-style employee-ownership model

A GP practice in Somerset has become the first in England to operate as a John Lewis-style...

GP consulting room

GPs 'running on empty' as LMC issues third red alert in a month

An LMC has issued its third countywide red alert in four weeks as primary care contends...

Woman holding face in pain

Should GPs treat patients presenting with dental problems?

The MDU's Dr Kathryn Leask considers what GPs should do if a patient presents with...

Conservative Party leadership candidate and foreign secretary Liz Truss

Liz Truss vows to resolve GP pension tax crisis if she becomes prime minister

Liz Truss has affirmed her commitment to resolving the GP pensions crisis but has...

Baby receiving a vaccine in their thigh

JCVI advises changes to routine childhood and HPV immunisation schedules

The Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) has recommended a change...

GP consultation

General practice delivering 'up to double the appointments it is paid for'

General practice in England may be delivering as many as double the number of appointments...