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GPC prepares dossier of unfunded hospital work dumped on GPs

Exclusive The GPC is collecting evidence of the growing volume of unfunded work that is being shifted from secondary care to GPs, in order to strengthen its hand in future contract negotiations.

The dossier – being prepared by Dr Peter Holden, GPC negotiator and a GP in Matlock, Derbyshire – is designed to lay bare the ‘financial churning' of NHS managers, as trusts scramble to cut costs and meet QIPP targets.

LMC members encouraged GPs to send Dr Holden anonymised copies of letters when they are asked to take on extra work from secondary care without funding.

Examples collected so far include GPs being asked to arrange and carry out ECG scans, conduct pre-anaesthetic checks and take on unfunded follow-up checks on coils fitted by hospitals. GPs have also been asked to arrange recall and follow-up care and absorb wound re-dressing and post-operative care work, normally carried out by district nurses.

It comes weeks after Pulse revealed that hospitals have axed 1.2m follow-up appointments, pushing checks into primary care.

Dr Holden said: ‘This year's pay award recognised in principle that GPs were absorbing more work from secondary care and I think we now have to quantify that. People always used to say to us "Tell us what sort of things you are being dumped with". Now we will produce examples.'

The news comes as GPs in Manchester and Liverpool warned hospitals are bouncing back unfunded work to GPs, including investigations, blood tests, X-rays and ultrasounds.

Dr Rob Barnett, secretary of Liverpool LMC, said: ‘In some hospitals, they are sending any work that costs them money to general practice.'

Dr John Hughes, secretary of Manchester LMC, said: ‘Any patient that is admitted with an acute illness, with a possible ulcer, is no longer having their investigation done in hospital.'

‘They are discharged back to us. They get the bed cleared and get to collect another new patient referral.'

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