According to media sources, GP practices in five areas of the country are offered agreements where they can be paid from the savings amounted from not referring patients to hospitals.
This incredibly controversial “profit share” system could allow GPs to cash in from not referring patients to hospitals, which leads to serious concerns over the quality of care and advice that may be given.
If doctors have the power to put profit before people, it may only be a matter of time before a patient is not referred to a hospital and suffers as a result.
Some GP leaders say that the payments are a “dereliction of duty” and rightly proclaim that cash incentives have absolutely no place at all in our health service. Financial incentives offered to GPs to deter them from referring patients to hospitals is astonishing and incredibly dangerous in our view.
NHS Coastal West Sussex CCG, according to the reports, offers GP practices up to 50% of the savings amounted by reductions in referrals. You can argue that this may incentivise GPs to not advise or offer the correct course of treatment or investigation in exchange for money, which is totally wrong.
While referrals should only be made in genuine cases where it is needed, a system that pays to change the opinion of a medical professional is outright scandalous.
It’s shocking that this kind of thing exists, and we can only see this as a massive risk for patients who may end up on the wrong treatment or investigatory path as a result of bad advice given off the back of financial incentives.
Although we can only hope that no doctor would change their advice off the back of a financial incentive, the scheme must be there for a reason, which is very worrying.