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At the heart of general practice since 1960

GPs flock to pledge support for manifesto campaign

Referral centre threat to my clinical freedom

Dr Una Duffy is furious at plans by her PCT to set up a 'clinical referral centre' to screen and potentially block GP referrals.

GPs face having to direct all referrals to the centre for evaluation by specialist staff ­ who will choose whether to permit them or to divert the patient elsewhere.

Dr Duffy, a GP in Luton, is determined to resist the scheme, which she believes erodes her clinical freedom and reduces referrals to 'tick-box proforma'.

She said: 'I am concerned because I can see the PCT is trying to limit the use of secondary care. It will be cheaper for them if investigations are done in the community.

'I feel it's the first step towards deciding for us where referrals should go and limiting our clinical freedom. I am inclined not to comply.'

Dr Duffy is a strong supporter of Pulse's campaign: 'I want to preserve and value the role of the GP.'

Luton PCT denied it was trying to restrict GPs' clinical freedom or save money. It said the aim was to speed up referrals, but GPs could talk to the PCT about 'opting out'.

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