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Independents' Day

We made an error over ABCD guidance, says BHS

GPs in Portsmouth have hit out at a local hospital for bouncing back neurology referrals to hit waiting time targets.

Southampton University Hospitals NHS Trust has set a limit on the number of neurology referrals it will handle after a steep rise in cases this year.

Peter Campion, head of communications at the trust, admitted the policy would enable it to meet the Government's target of a maximum 13-week wait for first consultant outpatient appointment by the end of the year.

He added that the trust was unable to handle the increase in cases unless PCTs paid for more capacity.

But GPs said they had waited up to five weeks to hear that a referral had been refused and warned patients could be harmed by the policy.

Dr Nigel Watson, Isle of Wight, Portsmouth and South East Hampshire LMC chief executive, said patients were being used as pawns and he feared the situation would worsen under Choose and Book.

He said: 'If a patient comes to harm as a result of the referral being returned, both the hospital and the PCT would be liable for failure to commission an adequate service. As financial deficits increase and capacity becomes unaffordable this sort of thing will happen more and more.'

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