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GPs are being offered cash to send fewer patients with suspected cancer to hospital for vital tests.Surgeries can claim thousands of pounds worth of “incentives” for not sending patients to hospitals for tests, scans and operations, according to an investigation by doctors’ magazine Pulse.
First appointments for cancer – which should happen within two weeks of a GP suspecting the disease – are included in some of the targets to cut referrals, the probe found.
The rewards are being offered by Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs), local NHS bodies responsible for commissioning of healthcare across the country.
The move comes as the NHS is trying to slash £22billion in costs before 2020.
The Mirror blasted the policy, run by CCGs that were created as part of the Health and Social Care Act of 2012 which began the mass-privatisation of the NHS, in its editorial:
Bribing family doctors not to send patients to hospitals for cancer tests is sacrificing lives by turning the NHS into a cut-price market place.
GPs should never be awarded bonuses at the cost of the public’s health. Those incentives are indefensible, because the likelihood is that cancers will go undetected.
Early detection is vital and when England’s cancer survival rates are already among the lowest in Europe, Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt should be demanding that more people are tested sooner.
Doctors must be free to make objective decisions on medical grounds rather than receiving dangerous instructions that reduce patients to financial statistics.
But don’t blame your doctor. Blame the Government. A Tory Government. The NHS wasn’t perfect under Labour but the Tories don’t appear to care at all.
This wasteful party is handing down a death sentence for unsuspecting patients. And that’s unforgiveable.