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Could Cash Incentives for NHS GP Practices Increase the Number of Medical Negligence Claims?

In an attempt to improve the quality of referrals, NHS GP Practices are being offered cash rewards when not referring patients to Hospital.

Could Cash Incentives for NHS GP Practices Increase the Number of Medical Negligence Claims?

The introduction of “profit-share agreements” imply that GP practices must be given “cash back” when they stop patients from going to hospital to decrease the number of referrals. Such schemes now mean that practices are able to keep 50% of all savings if they prevent the rise in people going to hospital. Many receive an extra £5 for every patient they keep out of hospital. However, many people have labelled the schemes as unacceptable and many GPs have questioned the ethics of the schemes.

Satisfaction with local GPs has decreased as patients describe them as “in decline”. This is a result of increased appointment waiting times, workforce shortages and a lack of funding. These public opinions highlight the declining standards of GPs which the public are now responding to.

These schemes have been identified in a number of organisations and payment of sums have been found to have been paid out with direct links to cutting referrals. The NHS argue that these schemes aim to reduce referrals but also aim to improve patient outcome. It is claimed that savings would be reinvested in services and not paid to GPs.

Aims are made to cut referrals across a wide range of specialities with no exclusions for patients who may have cancer or need heart care. This has been deemed ‘unsafe’ by many local GPs and can also be considered negligent. It can be argued that such schemes are detrimental to patient care and that they should be prevented from being implemented.

From the perspective of a patient, it may seem that GPs are being paid to not look after them. It can be viewed as an abandonment of duty in order to balance figures. Rather than not making referrals, GPs must be provided with the appropriate support to ensure that the referrals they make are necessary. This will avoid unethical initiatives which prioritise cutting costs over patient care. Incentives such as this will undermine patient trust.

If you have experienced Medical Negligence at the hands of a medical professional, contact Hodgkinsons Solicitors Skegness on 01754 897150 today to speak with one of our specialist Medical Negligence Solicitors and discuss your case further. Alternatively, submit a contact form and a member of our Team will call you.