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A&E referral-reduction scheme criticised by doctors

A&E referral-reduction scheme criticised by doctors

28 July 2015

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Bolton NHS Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) has been accused of financially rewarding doctors for not sending patients to hospital, putting patient care at risk, in their scheme to reduce unnecessary A&E referrals.

The scheme is part of Bolton Quality Contract, which is a primary care improvement programme, launched in April, which gives GP practices additional funding is they adhere to 19 standards.  

Bolton NHS Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) has been accused of financially rewarding doctors for not sending patients to hospital, putting patient care at risk, in their scheme to reduce unnecessary A&E referrals.

The scheme is part of Bolton Quality Contract, which is a primary care improvement programme, launched in April, which gives GP practices additional funding is they adhere to 19 standards.  

The third standard aims to create 61,000 more GP appointments a year, by “identifying opportunities to reduce unnecessary hospital attendances” and giving each practice who provides the plan additional funding, so they will receive the difference between their ‘core’ price per patient and the proposed £95 per head.

However, the Bolton News said they were giving “cash rewards” and a GP – who chose not to be named – said that doctors in Bolton were “concerned” that "giving doctors financial incentives not to refer is not in the interests of patients or services”.

Dr Wirin Bhatiani, chair of NHS Bolton Clinical Commissioning Group, said: “NHS Bolton Clinical Commissioning Group consulted GPs on the Bolton Quality Contract over a nine month period, providing the opportunity for GPs to shape and influence its development.”

He added that a committee made up of representatives from Bolton Council, NHS England, Public Health England, and Healthwatch Bolton agreed the final contract document and indicators used to measure performance.

“The Bolton Quality Contract is an initiative that all practices in Bolton have signed up to voluntarily. The CCG and its member practices are committed to driving out waste to enable our limited resources to be focused on the very best care for all our patients.”

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