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GPs buried under trusts' workload dump

GMC bans fee-for-referral

Accepting a fee for referring a patient to a particular service is in breach of Good Medical Practice guidelines, new GMC guidance states.

Draft supplementary guidance clarifying Good Medical Practice warns doctors that putting pressure on patients to use a specific product or service will undermine patients' trust.

The guidance supports GPs' decision to snub Ashton, Leigh and Wigan PCT's offer of £30 for every patient they refer to an independent treatment centre.

Dr Krishna Korlipara, GMC council member and a GP in Bolton, said the GMC's message was 'loud and clear'.

He said: 'All doctors should beware of accepting any kind of gift based on which they are going to make recommendations. That would be seen as a conflict of interest and a doctor acting for his or her own financial advantage rather than for the benefit of patients.'

The supplementary guidance also outlines procedures doctors should follow on whistleblowing, maintaining boundaries, and reporting criminal and regulatory proceedings.

GPs can give feedback on the draft guidance via the GMC's website: www.gmc-uk.org

Consultation ends on 24 July.

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