Pulse’s investigation into GP practices being offered payments to cut down referrals – including urgent cancer referrals – has been raised in Parliament, with the health secretary asked to explain what action he has taken.
The investigation found almost ten clinical commissioning groups were already offering incentive schemes to GP practices to reduce their referrals below a locally set target. At least two of these were including two week cancer referrals despite national drives to boost early diagnosis.
The investigation was featured on the front page of the Telegraph, the Guardian and the iNewspaper and Pulse editor Nigel Praities was interviewed by the BBC Radio Four Today programme, ITN news and Sky News.
Following this, Helen Hayes, Labour MP for Dulwich and West Norwood, asked Jeremy Hunt in Parliament what discussions he had had with CCGs and the GMC about the schemes.
Responding on behalf of the health secretary, minister for public health Jane Ellison said that cancer diagnoses had risen in the past five years, despite the questionable incentives which included referrals under the two week wait path way in their reduction target in some areas.
She added that ’NHS England has contacted each of the CCGs mentioned to ensure that this is very clearly communicated to all practices’.
The Labour Party has called for a review of the incentives.