'Act quickly to make most of commissioning bribes'
A GP estimates referrals to his community echocardiography clinic have leapt 25 per cent since the launch of the new contract in April.
Dr Ed Southall believes community echocardiography will play an increasingly important role as referral incentives in the quality framework increase pressure on hospital-based services.
His own clinic cut secondary care referrals by 87 per cent in its first three months with only 16 of 134 patients requiring full hospital investigation.
Dr Southall, a GP in Paignton, Devon, said: 'We have had an increase in referrals. I have been warning that this was going to happen for the last 18 months that's why the British Echocardiography Society has introduced the new accreditation for GPs. A lot of these conditions could be dealt with by GPs.'