Practices back 'high trust' referral deal

Practices in Bedfordshire are to be paid for using Choose and Book without having to say how often they use the system.

GPs have long complained that including referral methods in patient notes and making monthly returns on how much they use the system is an unreasonable administrative burden.

Now NHS Bedfordshire and the county's LMC have joined together to design a local enhanced service (LES) that cuts that burden to a minimum.

Practices will be required only to provide assurances that they will use the electronic booking system when possible. At the year end they will be asked to formally state they have done so.

The PCT will monitor practices through the DoH's weekly statistics of Choose and Book usage. Any practice using the system less than it claims will be supported to increase usage.

Dr John Lockley, co-chairman of the PCT's Choose and Book subcommittee, said this 'high trust relationship' is 'one of the best things that could have happened. Practices will be paid for the actual effort they put in'.

The LES is worth up to 80p per registered patient, 48p on sign-up and 32p depending on performance.

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