In May, NEW Devon CCG, implemented a pilot designed to decrease secondary care referrals and enable shorter waiting times for priority referrals. The scheme has already led to nearly a third of urology referrals being returned to practice, as reported by Pulse.
Under the scheme consultants will review referrals and determine whether they are appropriate for an outpatient appointment, or whether they can be managed in primary care. As part of the scheme GPs will be required to carry out further investigations normally completed by a specialist.
Devon LMC have questioned whether the pilot, which lasted for six weeks, is sufficient to judge success. Moreover, they have raised concerns as to whether GPs possess the resources required to deal with an increased workload. It is suggested that in some instances GPs have received orders to arrange tests that were not available to them because of local protocols.
NEW Devon CCG have already committed to rolling out the scheme to the rest of the region, to complete further evaluation and to consider whether it should be extended to all specialties.
This news comes just one week after it was reported that St Helens CCG was considering a proposal to ban all non-urgent referrals over the winter months (though this has since been revoked).