I heard of this story a few months ago, on seeing a headline in the press on the front page of another newspaper, which read in a way that said in so many words, that hospitals have been paying GPs in the UK financial bonuses to refer less people to local hospitals – in other words they seem to have been offering more money to GP’s to reduce work coming in and so one can only presume save the hospitals money and maybe reduce waiting lists… Does that sound ethical to you?
After a recent visit to a local GP I was left rather unimpressed by getting a more than reasonable request for a referral of sorts that was quite necessary to say the least turned down in a rather unjustifiable fashion that left me first surprised and wondering – which was enough to get me out of the door, only to get gradually more and more annoyed later as I new I hadn’t really been told the truth, knowing the facts of the matter well enough and based on past experiences.
I decided to do a little web research on the topic of doctors being paid not to make referrals and my first web search came up with this rather detailed article on the subject of GP’s seemingly being asked not to make early referrals – or reduce them for patients who might have cancer… Not good if correct. It’s only a few months old.
Some doctors are indeed arguing that this practice is unethical including doctors from the GMC and Royal College of GP’s saying it’s unethical and unacceptable in different ways. Still appears from this article it has been going on:
Is it going on in other areas of medicine too in the UK? Surely this can’t be good, can it? Not funny, it seems to me, can you think of anyone who might be laughing? I had heard that some in the UK consider GP practices are now run like businesses – but to make a profit in this way? Would doing so be ethical? The GMC seem to think not for one group anyway…
Thanks to The Telegraph.co.uk – feel free to send me your comments or experiences and if suitable I’ll put them on this blog.