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Working group set up as NHS England admits GPs still suffer workload ‘dump’

NHS England has set up a special working group to tackle what GP practices often refer to as workload ‘dump’ from hospitals.

It told Pulse that ‘a national stakeholder working group’ had been set up with the objective to ‘improve processes and collaboration’ between primary and secondary care.

NHS England said the work carried out by the ‘very committed’ group should ‘reduce workload for GPs’ and ‘improve patient care’.

Among other measures, the hospital contract now sets out that it is the responsibility of hospital trusts to ‘respond to patient queries for matters relating to their care rather than asking the patient to contact their GP’.

But NHS England primary care director and GP Dr Arvind Madan acknowleded in an opinion piece for Pulse that ‘we are yet to see our workload significantly reduced by changes to the contract between CCGs and hospitals’.

And a Pulse investigation last year found that not a single CCG has enforced a contractual requirement on trusts to stop dumping work on GPs.

An NHS England spokesperson said: ‘We have co-produced guidance with our partners to raise awareness of the new measures in the NHS Standard Contract and continue to improve communications around the benefits of these changes.

‘We have worked with partners across the system to develop national guidance clarifying responsibilities for prescribing between primary and secondary care.

‘This will ensure GPs only take on appropriate responsibilities for prescribing from secondary care. We are identifying examples of good practice where primary and secondary care are working well together.’