GPs are facing restrictions in access for their patients to a bewildering range of services from infertility treatment to hernia operations, vasectomies and diagnostic scans, as the budget squeeze that started in April leaves PCTs desperately scrambling for cash.
A Pulse survey lays bare the full scale of the restrictions GPs are experiencing in accessing care for their patients, and follows our previous investigation which found 41 trusts have added new procedures to their ‘low clinical priority' lists this financial year. It also follows the revelation last month that PCTs are using referral management centres staffed by nurses, podiatrists and physiotherapists to screen out GP referrals, and comes as Pulse launches a new initiative – CutsWatch – to track rationing of NHS care.
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