NICE issues tool to cut GP referral rates

An online database giving GPs guidance on when to refer patients from primary to secondary care has been launched by NICE.

NICE said the tool would ensure value for money in the NHS, reduce health inequalities and improve outcomes.

The database, available on the NICE website, offers referral advice for conditions on which NICE has issued previous guidance. NICE said the referral advice would identify when patients would, or would not, benefit from referral.

Professor Peter Littlejohns, NICE clinical and public health director, said inappropriate referral to secondary care places a large financial burden on the NHS.

‘Implementing NICE guidance can provide a way for GPs and commissioners to ensure patients receive treatment that is proven to be both clinically and cost effective, including when it is appropriate to refer a patient to hospital,’ he said.

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