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GPs' hospital referrals continue steep rise

By Nigel Praities

GP referrals have continued to rise throughout last year, putting further pressure on financially struggling PCTs.

Department of Health figures show GP referrals jumped by 245,000 from October to December last year, a rise of 11% compared with the same period last year.

This combines with a 13% rise from July to September and a 16% rise from April to June last year, which led PCTs in many areas to downgrade their financial forecasts and bring in controversial referrals incentive schemes to try and bring the situation under control.

The number of referrals from other sources also increased from October to December by 112,000, a rise of 8.3% compared with the same period last year.

Hospital admissions have also increased by 14.6% over the same period, and first outpatient attendances were up 8.5%.

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