Unnecessary appointments cut26th January 2007
GPs have cut the number of unnecessary referrals to hospital consultants, according to new figures.
The Department of Health has released figures to show that GPs who took up practice-based commissioning, have cut hospital referrals by as much as a third.
The government reform gives practices a greater say in procurement and provision of services for their patients. Most saw a cut of around a quarter. Patients who weren't referred instead received care or treatment from community services.
The figures from practices which have taken up PBC suggest around 2.5 million pointless referrals could be cut if matched across the health service.
Examples include Manchester PCT, which has introduced a GP with special interest-led gynaecology service (GPwSI) to triage all referrals into secondary care. This has cut referrals by 32%, but this is expected to increase to more than half.
The Government also revealed the NHS had met its target to have plans in place allowing GP practices to become involved in PBC by the end of last year.
More than nine out of ten (93%) of all GP practices in England have taken up an incentive payment to participate in PBC.
Health minister Andy Burnham said new ways of working would ensure the NHS met the target that no-one will wait more than 18 weeks for treatment by 2008.
During 2005/6, there were 9.8m GP referral requests for first outpatient appointments in England.
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Title: Unnecessary appointments cut
Author: Martine Hamilton
Article Id: 1857
Date Added: 26th Jan 2007