NICE launches database to cut inappropriate GP referrals
An online database offering GPs advice on referring patients from primary to secondary care could help to reduce the number of inappropriate referrals and ensure value for money in the NHS, says NICE.
The NICE ‘referral advice' recommendations database covers referral advice for patients with the range of conditions NICE has published guidance on such as suspected cancer, lower back pain and psoriasis.
Over the past few years NICE has been giving greater prominence to highlighting, through its guidance, those recommendations which direct the NHS away from less effective practice.
This database highlights recommendations from NICE guidance which clearly identify where patients might benefit from secondary care or specialist services and, by implication, those where patients would not benefit from these services.
As well as saving money, following the recommendations will also help to improve clinical outcomes and patient experience, as well as reduce local and regional inequalities in the care offered to patients.
Professor Peter Littlejohns, NICE Clinical and Public Health Director, said: “Inappropriate referral to secondary care places a large financial burden on the NHS.
“Implementing NICE guidance can provide a way for GPs and commissioners to ensure that patients receive treatment that is proven to be both clinically and cost effective, including when it is appropriate to refer a patient to hospital. Following NICE guidance frees up resources and capacity that can then be channelled into other services.”
“The decision to refer a patient to secondary care or specialist services is extremely important and is based on a variety of factors,” said Professor Littlejohns.
“The NICE ‘referral advice' recommendations database is a valuable resource for those providing and commissioning care on when patients should be referred on from primary care,” he added.
The database is one of a number of initiatives from NICE focussing on helping the NHS as it faces up to arguably its greatest challenge yet - to deliver the QIPP (Quality, Improvement, Productivity and Prevention) agenda, whilst facing a squeeze on finances.
20 October 2010
This page was last updated: 20 October 2010