General practitioners' referrals to specialist outpatient clinics. II. Locations of specialist outpatient clinics to which general practitioners refer patients.BMJ 1989; 299 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.299.6694.306 (Published 29 July 1989) Cite this as: BMJ 1989;299:306
- A. Coulter,
- A. Noone,
- M. Goldacre
Although linkage by computer of hospital administration systems across all clinics in a health district is becoming a practical possibility, complete records of general practitioners' referrals to outpatient clinics will be difficult to achieve. Data from a large study of general practitioners' referrals to such clinics were used to calculate the proportion of referrals that crossed district boundaries, the proportion that were made to the private sector; and the number of locations that each practice referred patients to. Of the 17,601 referrals from practices in Oxford Regional Health Authority, 13,857 (78.7%) were made to NHS outpatient clinics within practices' own districts, 1524 (8.7%) to clinics in other districts in the same region, 420 (2.4%) to NHS clinics in other regions, and 1800 (10.2%) to the private sector; but these proportions varied considerably among the practices. The mean number of different NHS hospitals or clinics that each practice referred patients to was 15.8 (range 4-42).