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Dr Russell Thorpe is suffering at the sharp end of the drive to meet targets after being forced to chase up referrals for patients who had been left stranded on waiting lists.

Dr Thorpe was astonished when he discovered that Blackpool Victoria hospital had been ignoring referrals from opticians in order to focus on meeting its 13-week target for referrals from GPs.

Local PCTs run a scheme to relieve GP workload by allowing opticians to refer directly, but the scheme is now in danger of collapse.

Dr Thorpe, a GP in St Anne's, said the hospital was guilty of 'serious jiggery pokery' and patients were justifiably angry. He said the deliberate blocking of patients was 'horrendous'.

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