Rugby GP says £30 is ‘reasonable’ for directing patients away from hospital

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SOME doctors near Rugby are to be paid £30 for each patient that can divert from University Hospital to reduce waiting lists.

The scheme is one of several ‘Local Enhanced Service’ (LES) agreements in place to help reduce waiting lists and save patients’ time by avoiding having to travel to hospitals.

The scheme was previously undertaken in Rugby, but after doctors failed to take it up, it will now be piloted by five GPs in Coventry.

Dr Adrian Canale-Parola, chair of Rugby Clinical Commissioning Group, said: “There have been a few types of LES agreements recently and it’s up to GPs which ones they can use.

“I’d argue that it’s good practice anyway to avoid giving people unnecessary hospital visits. That said I think the administrative fee of £30 is reasonable recompense for doing that.”

A statement from Coventry Primary Care Trust said the initiative seeks to ensure the NHS provides better quality services in the most productive and cost-effective way possible.

A spokesman said: “In order to cover the costs of administering the cancelled appointment, a notional sum of £30 is being offered to GPs. This relates to contacting the patient and seeking the patient’s view as to whether they are happy to have the hospital appointment cancelled. 

“If the patient is happy for this to be done, the payment will also cover contacting the hospital to cancel the appointment.”