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GPs cut hospital wait times

GPs are helping to reduce hospital waiting times by carrying out more elective procedures in primary care, according to the chief executive of the NHS.

In his annual report on NHS performance, Sir Nigel Crisp said 725,000 procedures that would have been carried out in secondary care were done in primary care last year, an increase of 16,000 on the year before.

The 2.2 per cent rise was reflected in a 'corresponding slowing down in GP referrals to consultants', the report said.

Referrals rose just 0.1 per cent in 2003. This compared with 1.5 per cent growth on average in the previous five years.

'Halting the increase in GP referrals to consultants has undoubtedly contributed to the fall in waiting times for admission and for consultation,' said Sir Nigel.

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