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GP commissioners drop 'insulting' locum referrals ban

Exclusive GP commissioners have ditched a controversial plan to ban referrals by GP locums in a bid to drive down practice referral rates.

Pulse first reported the proposal by Southwark Clinical Commissioning Committee for GP principals to police any referrals by locums working at their practice in November, prompting a wave of criticism of the plans.

However, a spokesperson for NHS Southwark said the idea – called ‘insulting and patronising' by locum GPs - has now been dropped.

He told Pulse: ‘The proposal to restrict referrals from locums was one of the ideas that had been discussed at the CCC, but has not been taken forward.'

Dr Stewart Kay, chair of Southwark LMC, welcomed ‘a very wise decision.'

He said: ‘What would be sensible would be to engage regular locums by informing them about local pathways and referral criteria, or where there are doctors in the practice with special expertise,' he said.

‘Having an outright ban is just silly and I'm glad they came to that conclusion themselves.'

Dr Vicky Weeks, chair of the GPC Sessional GP Subcommittee, said: ‘Looking at overall referral management and inviting locums along to discuss it in a learning process is fine, but putting a stop on particular GP's referrals because of their contractual status is completely unacceptable.'

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