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PCTs issue advice to GPs on commissioning savings

GPs in west London have been issued with a top 10 tips guide by their PCT to help kick-start practice-based commissioning in the area.

The document sent by Hammersmith and Fulham PCT details what systems are already in place to cut hospital referrals, and procedures to help reduce costs.

Practices in the area have been given indicative budgets, but a full-blown commissioning scheme is not yet under way.

The tips guide urged GPs to refer all dermatology, minor surgery and joint injection cases to a local GPSI service and advised that all referrals should now be addressed 'Dear Consultant' rather than to a named individual.

Practices were also advised to develop internal reporting systems to book referrals to specialties and to review them regularly, to examine follow-up ratios for outpatient specialisms and check these against other practices and to take care in coding of procedures.

Dr Fay Wilson, secretary of Hammersmith and Fulham LMC, said the tips were 'a step in the right direction' but GPs needed more practical support if commissioning was to progress.

She said: 'I don't know how helpful it's going to be. These things are not really about commissioning, they're about demand management and none of this is revolutionary.'

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