Patient choice lottery could cost GPs £3,000

Practices could lose almost £3,000 on average because less than one in three patients referred for elective surgery recall being offered a choice of hospital, DoH data show.

From January 2006 GPs have been expected to offer patients a choice of at least four hospitals at the point of referral.

Under the Choice and Booking directed enhanced service (DES), practices receive achievement pay if 60 per cent of patients referred recall being offered this choice.

The achievement payment is worth 48p per patient on the practice list, or £2828 to an average-size practice with 5891 patients.

But a DoH survey of 79,000 patients carried out in May and June this year found that only 30 per cent remember being offered choice, meaning most practices are unlikely to hit the DES target.

GPC negotiator Dr Richard Vautrey said the findings were cause for concern for practices hoping to achieve the DES targets.

He said the findings bore out the GPC’s worst fears about the unfairness of basing GP pay on patient survey results.

More on this story in GP newspaper.

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