Together we Speak Louder

Following up on worries about GP referrals for treatment

Posted on: 01/03/2018

There has been national news coverage over the last few day about patient referrals for NHS treatment and Coastal West Sussex Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) has been named as running a scheme to reduce referrals from GP practices.

 The CCG has stated there are a number of inaccuracies, and a number of concerns being raised by the coverage, and we want to address those concerns. Healthwatch has received the following assurances from the CCG: 

  • Any patient who needs a referral absolutely will be referred for the treatment and support they need;
  • There is no restriction or targets on the number of referrals a GP practice can make;
  • The agreement with practices is to look at reducing the number of inappropriate or incomplete referrals, when a patient can be waiting several months only to be bounced back to their GP practice – causing a delay in care for that patient and a cost to the NHS system;
  • Any money saved within the system by reducing inappropriate referrals is being reinvested in improving patient care;
  • After approval by the CCG, funding is available for schemes led by practice groups to improve access to primary care services and the development of local community services; no GPs receive payment, directly or indirectly.

The CCG has published a full response to the articles on our website: https://www.coastalwestsussexccg.nhs.uk/news?item=1860

Frances Russell, Healthwatch West Sussex Chair states “it is important the CCG gives people reassurance necessary treatment is not being rationed but local people need to see that they are getting prompt NHS responses to the referrals made by their GPs. We remain concerned over the length of time some urgent referrals for treatment are taking and want to hear from more local people to learn if these changes are working for them or not”.

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