Intended for healthcare professionals

Analysis And Comment Health policy

Referral management centres: promising innovations or Trojan horses?

BMJ 2006; 332 doi: (Published 06 April 2006) Cite this as: BMJ 2006;332:844

Referral management is not demand management.


In this article and the associated pieces the phrase 'demand
management' is often employed and yet it is a misnomer. The demand on the
NHS is generated by the patients coming through the NHS' front door -
whether that be primary or secondary care.

What is being discussed here is in fact the creation of another
impediment to care, an additional hurdle, more complexity and expense,
more scope for error, interference with clinical care by non-clinicians,
erosion of confidentiality, etc. etc.

Yet again, the problem is managerialism making a problem where none
existed before.

True demand management would be continuing large-scale public
education in the optimal way to use the NHS.

Yours sincerely

Steven Ford

Competing interests:
I am a GP.

Competing interests: No competing interests

13 April 2006
Steven Ford
Haydon & Allen Valleys Medical Practice. NE47 6LA.