BMA rejects proposal that GPs should pay cost of patients’ unnecessary visits to emergency departments

BMJ 2008; 336 doi: (Published 24 April 2008) Cite this as: BMJ 2008;336:910
  1. Lynn Eaton
  1. 1London

GPs’ leaders have criticised the suggestion that primary care trusts should be able to recoup from general practices the costs of any unnecessary visits made by their patients to emergency departments or walk-in clinics.

The proposals, apparently passed to the government for consideration in the review being carried out by the health minister Ara Darzi, suggest that charges are imposed if a patient uses emergency services because they cannot see their own doctor in normal surgery hours.

Laurence Buckman, chairman of the BMA’s General Practitioners Committee, said that the proposal, from the NHS Confederation and NHS Employers, could mean that many general practices would lose all their funds. Those in areas where there was a culture of patients tending to go to emergency departments would be the hardest …

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