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London GP referrals to face scrutiny

GPs in London are to have their referrals screened by clinical decision-making panels to assess their 'appropriateness'.

Plans seen by Pulse state that London's GP referral rates must be cut to the lowest 10 per cent nationally to save £25 million in outpatient appointments.

PCTs have been ordered to set up 'clinical review panels' in dermatology, ENT, gynaecology, ophthalmology, rheumatology, trauma and orthopaedics.

Other proposals include using emergency care practitioners in A&E departments to redirect 40 to 70 per cent of patients back to GPs or walk-in centres.

A&E activity that could have been treated in primary care will not be paid for by PCTs, the draft paper, Pan-London Demand Management Arrangements 06-07, stated.

Dr Fay Wilson, secretary of Londonwide LMCs, branded the referral plans 'ludicrous'.

She said: 'This will simply result in two lots of paperwork, frustrate doctors and patients and delay care.'

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