Jeremy Hunt shifts awkwardly at PMQs

‘Cash incentives based on how many referrals GPs make have no place in the NHS,’ say GP leaders

A disclosure by GP website Pulse have disclosed some very troubling news about the health sector in the UK.

The website discovered that in four NHS bodies in England GP practices are given monetary rewards to not send patients into hospital.

A freedom of information survey of 181 CCGs by Pulse found that a quarter offered some sort of financial incentive to GPs to cut referrals

These profit share initiatives have been slammed by many health workers and the general public, that worry there may be a conflict of interest and patients may not get their health needs met properly.

Helen Stokes-Lampard, chair of the Royal College of GPs, said: “Cash incentives based on how many referrals GPs make have no place in the NHS, and frankly it is insulting to suggest otherwise.” Family doctors did need help to ensure they were refer the right patients but that should not involve “ethically questionable initiatives that prioritise cash savings over patient care”, she said.

Peter Swinyard, chair of the Family Doctor Association, said: “From a patient perspective it means GPs are paid to not look after them. It’s a serious dereliction of duty, influenced by CCGs trying to balance their books.”

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