IT has been reported that a number of doctors in England are being offered thousands of pounds to cut the number of patients being admitted to hospital.
Local NHS groups are being paid to restrict the number of patient referrals at GP practices. This will affect patient’s appointments along with scans and consultations with specialists.
The British Medical Association claimed that their motives have been “misguided.”
At least nine clinical commissioning groups (CCGs) were paying GP practices for hitting targets. In one case, Birmingham South Central CCG was giving practices more than £11,000 (€14,387) to reduce new outpatient attendances, follow-ups, A&E attendances and emergency admissions by 1 per cent compared with 2014/15.
The NHS is under pressure to make savings, with a target of carving out £22bn (€29bn) of efficiency savings by 2020.
NHS leaders want to cut patient referrals that are deemed inappropriate, particularly when patients could be cared for locally.
Some have evaluated the wisdom of the move, claiming patients could miss out on vital care. But CCGs have defended their stance, saying it is about good practice, not about keeping people who need treatment out of hospital.