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From The Socialist newspaper, 7 October 2015

NHS cutters pay doctors not to refer sick patients to hospitals

Jackie Grunsell, NHS doctor

General practitioners (GPs) are being paid to reduce referrals to hospital in some areas.

This will cause shock and concern. Patients trust their doctor to always act in their best interests - without gaining financially by denying access to specialist services.

'Clinical commissioning groups' (CCGs) led by clinical professionals took over planning local healthcare under the last government. This work was previously done by administrators, leaving clinicians free to focus on patients. The change was central to Tory and Lib Dem NHS cuts.

Incentives

We were told CCGs would better advocate for patient care, putting GPs at the heart of decision making. Yet at least nine groups run schemes incentivising GPs to reduce referral rates!

In some cases this includes the aim of reducing two-week-wait fast-track referrals for those with suspected cancer.

GP leaders have called such schemes into question. They are damaging to the doctor-patient relationship of trust.

Our budgets have been cut from every direction. Many GPs may be desperate for any additional funding - simply in order to maintain their service.

However, if patients feel blocked from seeing specialists for financial reasons, they will lose faith in their doctors. It's one of the reasons the General Medical Council, the doctors' regulator, insists we must not receive any "inducement, gift or hospitality".

If NHS resources were adequate to meet patients' needs, these incentives would never have been considered.

Waste

Billions are wasted on privatisation schemes. Drug companies aren't challenged for hugely inflated medication prices. GPs spend valuable time re-analysing their referrals to decide whether they were 'appropriate' or not.

The system needs turning on its head. The Socialist Party fights to reverse all NHS cuts and expand both clinical and support staff.

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Finance appeal

The coronavirus crisis has laid bare the class character of society in numerous ways. It is making clear to many that it is the working class that keeps society running, not the CEOs of major corporations.

The results of austerity have been graphically demonstrated as public services strain to cope with the crisis.

The government has now ripped up its 'austerity' mantra and turned to policies that not long ago were denounced as socialist. But after the corona crisis, it will try to make the working class pay for it, by trying to claw back what has been given.

  • The Socialist Party's material is more vital than ever, so we can continue to report from workers who are fighting for better health and safety measures, against layoffs, for adequate staffing levels, etc.
  • When the health crisis subsides, we must be ready for the stormy events ahead and the need to arm workers' movements with a socialist programme - one which puts the health and needs of humanity before the profits of a few.
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In The Socialist 7 October 2015:


Socialist Party news and analysis

'No time to lose' to organise against austerity

Kick out the Tories!

Back our doctors and nurses

NHS cutters pay doctors not to refer sick patients to hospitals

Tories: let pensioners freeze to death, they can't vote us out then

Them & Us


Socialist Party feature

The housing crisis - a crisis of the profit system


International socialist news and analysis

Catalonia

International news in brief


Workplace news and analysis

Emotional and inspiring strikers secure victory

Junior doctors campaign

RMT president election: back Sean Hoyle

Steely anger in Redcar as plant is mothballed

No wage cuts! Fund equal pay in Derby

Workplace news in brief


Socialist Party reports and campaigns

100,000 march against Tory cuts

Kick out the Tory entryists

Anger after violent youth deaths in south London

Enthusiasm for socialism at freshers fairs

Leeds to get 'ethical' letting agency

Cuts to school crossing supervision in Derbyshire


 

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