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General Practitioners

Volume 487: debated on Tuesday 10 February 2009

To ask the Secretary of State for Health with reference to the answer of 6 November 2008, Official Report, column 693W, on general practitioners, what reasons have been identified for the reduction in numbers of GP referrals to consultants between 2003-04 and 2007-08. (255620)

The Department has not undertaken any specific research into the reasons for the slight decrease in general practitioner (GP) referrals to first consultant-led outpatient appointments between the period 2003-04 to 2007-08.

GP written referrals for first outpatient appointment (consultant-led): All specialties, England provider based

Number of GP referrals made

1997-98

8,991,722

1998-99

9,139,785

1999-2000

9,141,425

2000-01

9,362,770

2001-02

9,470,342

2002-03

9,655,874

2003-04

9,802,237

2004-05

9,776,914

2005-06

9,785,960

2006-07

9,337,136

2007-08

9,639,029

Source:

Department of Health, QM08, KH09, QAR (Quarterly Activity Return).

To improve the appropriateness of care patients receive, i.e. the right treatment from the right health care professional, in the right place and at the right time, the Department has issued guidance to the NHS ‘Care and Resource Utilisation’ (December 2006) (a copy of which has been placed in the Library), which sets out a range of ways in which primary care trusts and clinicians can work together to improve care provided to patients.