Thursday 19 April 2018

Monitor GPs over referrals to hospital, says Varadkar

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar
Taoiseach Leo Varadkar
Kevin Doyle

Kevin Doyle

The number of hospital referrals by individual family doctors should be monitored so that those who are over-reliant on hospitals can be persuaded to change their practice, according to Taoiseach Leo Varadkar.

He has suggested measures should be taken to help GPs treat more patients in their own clinic rather than advising them to attend emergency departments.

He broached the idea at a private meeting of Fine Gael TDs and senators on Wednesday, telling them that if every GP sent two fewer patients to the A&E every week it would a big step towards resolving the trolley crisis.

A spokesperson for Mr Varadkar told the Irish Independent: "The Taoiseach was referring to the need to empower GPs to perform more procedures themselves by giving them direct access to tests and diagnostics so that referrals are not necessary."

He proposed monitoring individual referral rates "to identify those GPs who 'over refer' so that they can be persuaded to change their practice".

"Both measures would reduce the number of referrals to hospitals, and alleviate hospital waiting lists and waiting times."

Irish Independent

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