This site is intended for health professionals only

GPC responds to NHS managers’ ‘failure’ to stop hospital workload dump

The GPC has published a new set of template letters to send to hospitals who do not comply with the new curbs on dumping unnecessary workload onto GP practices.

It said this comes ’after the failure of many NHS managers to introduce agreed changes to the standard contract’ that NHS England recently made in response to calls from GPC.

These included ensuring hospitals did not send patients back to their GP for a re-referral if they missed their appointment, that hospitals directly communicate test results to patients, and that hospitals make direct onward referrals where necessary, among other things.

GPC chair Dr Chaand Nagpaul said: ‘Despite these new requirements, it is clear many NHS providers are not implementing these changes. The BMA has already ensured NHS England issued an instruction to managers reminding them of their responsibilities.

‘However, alongside this the BMA is providing GP practices with template letters to redirect inappropriate demands back to hospitals to fulfil their contractual obligations.’

He said the new templates also include letters for CCGs to inform them of breaches of the standard contract, as they have statutory responsibility to ensure providers comply with their terms.

He added: ‘Given the enormous pressures on general practice from rising demand, falling resources and staff shortages, we need to end the scandalous situation where everyday thousands of patients will see a GP purely for the bureaucratic purpose of re-referring after a missed hospital appointment.

‘This is a waste of precious resources, and is directly denying patients access to GP services. We must use GP appointments for medical reasons, and liberate time for GPs and their staff to care for patients.’

The GPC had asked for NHS England to review secondary care workload dump as part of its ‘Urgent Prescription for General Practice’.