NHS England backs down over colleague referral plan


Senior figures in the health service have apparently rowed back on plans to implement a new set of rules requiring all GP referrals to be reviewed by colleagues.

The proposals, designed to cut costs for secondary care providers, drew something of a backlash from general practice.

The British Medical Association (BMA) indicated there was nothing wrong with the general principle; indeed, some such schemes have already been agreed between Local Medical Committees (LMCs) and doctors’ surgeries.

But the plans to roll out a mandatory system right across the board, which first came to light following an NHS England leak back in August, had proven deeply unpopular with many practitioners.

The fear was that a top-down-approach, which wouldn’t necessarily be resourced in the same way as more local arrangements, could lead to delays in patients’ treatment.

The need for such a policy was further called into question when official figures showed that the number of GP referrals this year had in fact already fallen.

Dr Richard Vautrey, from the BMA, said: “NHS England has confirmed that it has listened to our concerns and therefore changed its position. It has made it clear that it is not expecting clinical peer review to apply to all practice or referrals nor will these plans be mandatory for all CCGs.

“[We] will continue to recommend local schemes should retrospectively reflect on the quality of referrals, be voluntary, properly resourced and take a supportive approach.”

Dr Arvind Madan, NHS England’s director of primary care, said the organisation would continue to work with GP leaders to decide the best way forward.

  • Carter Lemon Camerons LLP Solicitors is a City law firm which provides legal services with a personal touch to both commercial and private clients. Unlike many City practices we are happy to act in smaller private legal matters, bringing the same care and consideration as we do to large commercial matters.  For more information about our services to healthcare professionals, including GP Practices, please contact Andrew Firman or telephone: 020 7406 1000.
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Carter Lemon Camerons LLP (CLC) solicitors is a City law firm which provides legal services with a personal touch to both commercial and private clients. Unlike many City practices we are happy to act in smaller private legal matters, bringing the same care and consideration as we do to large commercial matters. For more information about CLC please visit: www.cartercamerons.com or telephone: 020 7406 1000