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Consultants brought in to tackle rising GP referrals

GP commissioners are planning on bringing in hospital consultants to ‘educate' practices and troubleshoot spiraling levels of outpatient referrals.

CCGs in Buckinghamshire decided to take action in May following data suggesting that GP outpatient referrals were 7% above the planned leveland 6% above the same period last year.

They are now collaborating with local consultants to identify specialties where unnecessary hospital follow-up appointments are taking place and to provide feedback to GPs on referrals.

The work will focus on areas with high levels of follow-up appointments, such as haematology, trauma and orthopaedics and neurology.

Board papers from NHS Buckinghamshire and Oxfordshire Cluster, seen by Pulse, say: ‘There is an ongoing consultant-led programme of education designed to stimulate change and behaviour at GP level.'

A spokesperson for NHS Buckinghamshire and Oxfordshire Clustertold Pulse that the move came after Aylesbury Vale and Chiltern CCGs took responsibility for £20.6m of QIPP efficiency savings.

She said GPs were meeting with consultants to ‘identify potential areas for consideration'.

Dr Prit Buttar, chair of Oxfordshire LMC and a former commissioning lead in Oxfordshire, said: ‘The bottom line is anything that improves the efficiency of the system and improves care for patients is beneficial. It just depends on how it is implemented.'