Private Business Intermediaries

GPs unable to refer

17/09/2012 | By Sharmila Chauhan
Up to 70% of UK GPs are unable to refer a patient for further treatment on the NHS according to a report carried out by ComRes and commissioned by the private healthcare provider BMI Healthcare.

The findings highlight the fact that many patients may not be able to get referrals for further treatment as they do not fit the criteria set by the local primary care trust (PCT) which determines whether they can be referred to the NHS for further treatment.

Extrapolating this figure, BMI healthcare say that this suggests that GPs are unable to refer up to 750,000* patients per year for further treatment on the NHS.

The criteria set by the PCT does vary around the country. On the South East Coast GP's indicated that they were able to refer as many as 86% of patients, this was closely followed by East Midlands and the South West. However, those in Scotland reported as low as 42% referral rate.

South Central    - 83%
East Midlands    - 81%
South West - 79%
Yorkshire & Humber - 74%
North West - 73%
London - 73%
West Midlands - 71%
East of England - 64%
Wales - 64%
North East - 55%
Northern Ireland - 52%

Over half of GPs questioned also said that they needed clearer guidance on what NHS procedures are and are not available to their patients on the NHS.

The GPs also reported that as many as a third of patients were already asking about private treatment. The reasons for wanting private healthcare included:
  • Patients are generally less willing to wait for treatment (65%)
  • Patients are not able to receive treatment/procedure under the NHS criteria (59%)
  • NHS waiting lists have got longer (56%)