Two years ago, we were looking into whether GPs in Bucks were using referral management services.
We started this investigation after a member of the public asked us:
Are GPs in Bucks using a private company for referral management?
Referral management systems are used to assess referrals made by GPs. It costs the GP money to refer a patient, so the idea is to save money by avoiding unnecessary referrals. However, research has shown that most of the time this process doesn’t save money, and there were also concerns that the patient’s recovery hadn’t been considered in the assessment.
We asked Bucks CCG whether they use these systems, and they said that they do not. However, some GPs use a “peer review” system. This means that another GP will look at the referral and decide whether it is appropriate. This has reduced the number of referrals made, and saved money.
However, on 15th January 2018 a member of the public contacted us regarding the The Practice Group. They said that some patients they knew had had their referrals assessed by this company, despite what Bucks CCG told us.
We contacted The Practice Group and they confirmed that they had a contract with Milton Keynes University Hospital Foundation Trust (MKUHFT) to provide this service. This means that if you were referred to a Milton Keynes service, your referral could be assessed by them.
We have recently reconfirmed that this is still the case (as of the 24th of January 2019). This is not the decision of your Bucks GP, this is Milton Keynes hospital’s process. You should be able to choose where to receive your treatment, so this might be something to consider when doing so.