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GPs encouraging patients to go private

GPs encouraging patients to go private

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CCG restrictions on surgery eligibility criteria are causing GPs to advise patients to go private, a survey has revealed. 

A survey of more than 800 GPs in England found that the majority (70%) have encouraged patients to consider private treatment, while 62% told patients to wait until their condition worsens so that they meet the criteria for NHS surgery. 

The results of private provider Spire Healthcare’s survey follow a BMJ investigation which revealed that at least 27 of 211 CCGs are limiting access for hernia and cataract surgery, among others. 

“Whilst GPs are dedicated to ensuring patients are able to receive the treatment they need, it is clear that procedures are either being restricted or delayed until certain local criteria are met, and I am concerned that patients may be living with symptoms unnecessarily,” said Dr Jean-Jaques de Gorter, group medical director at Spire. 

He added: “Patients requiring these common procedures need to know that the NHS is not their only option, and that they can choose to be treated privately either by exercising their private medical insurance or by funding their treatment for themselves.” 

Dr Harjeev Rai, a GP at the Fairbrook Medical Centre said: “I now see a number of patients who are not necessarily insured, choosing to pay privately for procedures so that they can be treated sooner, rather than having to live with the symptoms of their conditions.

“As GPs we are facing real pressure when it comes to balancing being a patient advocate and helping CCGs cut spending.” 

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