The NHS is under immense pressure to 'balance the books' with funding falling in real terms per patient as the population increases.
CCGs are offering ‘incentives’ to GPs for not sending patients for consultations with specialists, scans and operations. Even first appointments for cancer, that should occur within two weeks of a GP suspecting the disease, are included in some of the targets to cut referrals. Weren’t GPs recently accused of being responsible for delays in cancer diagnosis? GMC guidance very clearly states that doctors must not accept any ’inducement, gift or hospitality’ that affects or could be seen to affect the way a doctor treats or refers patients. What next, rationing of essential services and introduction of charges? Already in many CCGs in England, patients are being denied prompt hip or cataract operations, hearing aids and fertility treatments.GPs should have the courage to ignore such incentives, which are unethical, misguided and threaten patient trust.