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GP referrals under fire

BMJ 2017; 358 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.j4228 (Published 12 September 2017) Cite this as: BMJ 2017;358:j4228
  1. Zosia Kmietowicz
  1. The BMJ

Is the mandate for GPs to check colleagues’ referrals a good idea? Reactions have been mixed, reports Zosia Kmietowicz

The news that GPs in England are expected to review each other’s referrals to secondary care1 has provoked responses of approval, uneasiness, and hostility among doctors and commissioners.

Practices already running referral peer review stand by their schemes, while some of those that are yet to implement NHS England’s mandate are demanding its withdrawal.

Paul Roblin, chief executive of Berkshire, Buckinghamshire, and Oxfordshire Local Medical Committee, the organisation that represents GPs in the area, said, “Oxford CCG [clinical commissioning group] has tried it before, and it wasn’t found to produce any documentable benefit, so it is planning not to implement the instruction.”

Other CCGs on Roblin’s patch have different ideas about the call to curb referrals. “Bucks CCG is enthused about the instruction, despite the lack of evidence found in Oxford, while Milton Keynes CCG is more equivocal,” Roblin told …

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