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Two thirds of GPs say ‘advice and guidance’ is blocking patients who really need a referral

Two-thirds of GPs feel ‘advice and guidance’ is preventing patients who really need a referral to secondary care from getting one, according to the findings of a snapshot survey of Pulse readers.

Advice and guidance (A&G) services, which involve GPs accessing specialist advice before making a referral, have become a major part of NHS England’s plans for clearing the pandemic backlog.

But of the 366 GP survey respondents in England who said they had used advice and guidance, 68% said they felt the pathway is blocking necessary referrals.

The survey also found that of those 366 GPs who had used A&G services:

  • Around half (49%) said A&G was reducing referrals;
  • More than three-quarters (78%) said it was increasing their workload;
  • Just over half (60%) said it was requiring them to work beyond their competence;
  • Two-thirds (68%) said A&G was resulting in patients complaining because their wish to see a consultant had been diverted.

One GP who wished to remain anonymous commented: "An increasing number of referrals are being rejected for secondary care service pressure reasons rather than clinical need. [This] often duplicates GP admin work as we need to re-refer, rewriting the referral and/or enclosing further information or tests results in order to get a referral accepted."

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Source: Pulse, 25 January 2023

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