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GPs battle to stop hospitals referrals cap


I was surprised to find recently that a highly experienced GP friend who practises in the north of England had been referred by his PCT to the National Clinical Assessment Service following a complaint made by a patient in 2002.

The complaint was trivial and should not have proceeded. The PCT's handling has been disproportionate.

The procedure of trawling for evidence, the delay of three years, and the evasive responses have taken their toll on his health and seem geared to undermining confidence and actively promoting resignation.

There are probably numerous GPs who find themselves in similar predicaments but for obvious reasons keep a low profile.

PCTs appear preoccupied with their performance and are governed by many factors, including the post-Shipman climate of suspicion.

The NCAS role is unclear and the medical defence organisations seem reluctant to get involved. It seems no one is interested or able to support hard-working and conscientious GPs.

This has to be addressed collectively by GPs now before the situation escalates. It would be most interesting to hear the views of other GPs and to learn of their experiences.

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