Patients should bypass GPs and self-refer, Starmer says

20th January 2023 by NASGP

Patients should bypass GPs and self-refer, Starmer says

Patients should self-refer to secondary care according to Keir Starmer, The Mirror reports.

“If you’ve back pain and you want to see a physio, it ought to be possible, I think, to self-refer. If you’ve got internal bleeding and you just need a test there ought to be a way that doesn’t involve going to see a GP,” the leader of the opposition told the BBC’s Laura Kuenssberg.

GPs took to Twitter to seek help for their own self-referrals.

Dr Nishant Joshi wrote:

Dr Georgie Budd called proposals ‘barmy’:

Only the week before, GPs rounded on Wes Streeting’s proposal to close partnerships and make every GP salaried. The BMA and RCGP both criticised his proposal, and the Doctors’ Association UK and GP Survival co-wrote an open letter doing the same.

Dr Richard Fieldhouse, NASGP chair, said: “Sir Keir Starmer is giving us a masterclass in why politicians should not be involved in running the National Health Service. He identifies a clear problem, but this is the wrong solution, completely failing to understand the key gatekeeping role of GPs that prevents secondary care from becoming overwhelmed.

“Gatekeeping involves taking on risk, and GPs are best placed for this.

“The way to improve the situation is to increase the availability of GP appointments, not bypass them.”

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