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GPs offered £5 per patient to reduce referrals by at least 10%

GPs are being incentivised to cut referrals by 10% as part of a £1.4m plan to cut referrals.

NHS Barnsley CCG are offering practices up to £5 for meeting what it calls the ‘ambitious’ target in a number of specialties.

However, local GP leaders have branded the scheme ‘unsafe’ and called for an immediate review.

The target is the most severe uncovered by Pulse’s ‘Cash for cuts’ investigation, which received replies from 181 CCGs about incentives for GPs to cut referrals.

Under the scheme, practices receive £5 per patient for cutting referrals by a minimum of 10% across a range of specialties: cardiology, colorectal surgery, ENT, gastroenterology, general medicine, general surgery, gynaecology, hepatobiliary & pancreatic surgery, paediatric ENT, paediatric trauma and orthopaedics, plastic surgery, trauma & orthopaedics, upper gastrointestinal surgery, and vascular surgery.

The CCG has set aside £1.4m for the scheme, which also includes specific clinical thresholds for a range of procedures including knee and hip replacement, cataracts and hernias.

However, Dr Dean Eggitt, the BMA GP Committee representative for Barnsley, said he was worried about the scheme: ‘The scheme is unsafe and needs to be reviewed urgently.’

An NHS Barnsley CCG spokesperson: ‘We invest in a comprehensive “practice delivery scheme”, which increases investment in capacity and infrastructure in primary care to meet increasing demands. In turn, practices work with us to improve care and outcomes for Barnsley residents.

‘This includes an ambitious but achievable 10% improvement in clinically appropriate referrals. Financially, it is an effective use of local resources which will improve patient experience and outcomes and increase investment in primary care in line with the Five Year Forward View commitments. Primary and secondary care clinicians have been involved in the development of this scheme.’


Readers' comments (8)

  • A&E gets a bailout as we have a cold winter, we get the scraps. This money should be coming to us as we are so grossly underfunded. Not as ‘bribery’ to reduce referrals

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  • NO we should not cooperate with this morally hollow establishment who reward the head of the hydra aa award for safety.This is unbelievable.

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  • what....when you risk a manslaughter conviction!

    no way

    Me and my colleagues are doing the opposite

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  • This initiative demonstrates clearly how our so called managers fail to understand the clinical environment which they purport to be managing. There has been a massive investment in management and management consultants the result of which is to have to slash clinical costs so that they may increase the power and influence of their own little empires. Slashing management would mean cost reduction which could be invested in clinical services obviating the need for a reduction in service provision. Furthermore, reducing management committees, which multiply like weeds, changes for the better might occur as decisions of value would be made. For this to happen, Doctors have to take over leadership; a managers job is to configure services according to clinical need, not to dictate to doctors what they can and cannot do.

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  • On the contrary, refer everybody that needs to be referred and even cases where you have doubts whether a referral is appropriate.If you fail to refer just once and things go upside down, it will be your backside that will be in the firing line. Trust me, the CCG will be the first to disown you. When Doctor's in NHS join organizations, the oath they had taken suddenly becomes a Hypocrite's oath. In most cases, I would say.

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  • I'm sure if this was widely known we would get patients wanting referrals coming in brandishing their fivers....

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  • Macaque

    I am imagining this topic being discussed at the future partners meeting in my surgery. om ommm ooommmaaah. Ahh! I can see the dominating few wanting to grab the five quid per patient!

    We all have to accept that there are only few black sheep among us like you and I who comment here against this kind of thing!

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