Timesonline Oct 20 08 - hospital referrals

Hi all

Like the rest of you, sane sensible people out there, I do not believe everything I read in the papers.

However, there’s very often no smoke without some kind of fire, so I thought I’d post this link,so that others could have a look.

I’m pretty sure that where bc, or history of bc is concerned, no GP would dream of doing this, but if you live in one of the areas that has already signed up to this sort of scheme, you might wish to know about it.

The link is:

timesonline.co.uk/tol/life_and_style/health/article4974884.ece

S

I went to a palliative care meeting a couple of weeks ago and interestingly what was raised at that meeting was the inappropriate referral sometimes for patients to be admitted to hospital when they could have been seen in the community.

I wonder, as the article says, whether it’s the inexperience of some doctors on knowing how to deal with patients, especially palliative care ones so wouldn’t the money be better spent on training and educating them?

I do agree that there could well be a danger of not referring someone who definitely needs to go to hospital and who might well die needlessly.

I would have thought that until they have got community care right that this kind of ‘incentive’ is totally out of place and why should they need an incentive.

I agree with Pinkdove that GP’s can refer inappropriately and I do feel sorry for them in some ways as often the guidelines set out by NICE or other government agencies can be fairly woolly and unclear so they are left with a huge dilemma. Do they refer someone they believe not to have a serious problem and therefore clog up the referral system or do they take a calculated risk and treat in primary care. However, offering them a financial incentive to deal with it in house is ludicrous as they will be biased in their decision-making. Surely more auditing on their competencies and further training is where the money should go. Why not offer them financial incentives for the amount of extra training they complete?