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At the heart of general practice since 1960

How I'd sort out question of choice

From Dr Trevor Stammers

Merton Park, south-west London

GPC negotiator Dr Richard Vautrey suggests GPs should waste yet more of our time reinforcing three or four times to patients the fact that we have offered them a choice of hospitals (News, 19 October).

I have a better idea that will solve this problem and at the same time increase downward pressure on referrals without us having to have all our referrals mutually vetted and discussed by colleagues as we also waste time doing at present.

The patient should be made to sign a form stating that they have been offered a choice of at least four hospitals. This form should have to be witnessed and countersigned by any member of the PCT staff before any referral is made at all. Sorted!

I used to love my job when I mainly worked with patients, but since I became a computer-coding operative and PCT data collector, I am losing my enthusiasm for it with every passing week.

Surely there must be more important things than checking on whether patients have been offered a choice of hospitals.

There will soon be no GPs left to make the offer – or is that the real agenda?

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