Surgeon told to see only patients of fund-holding GPs

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The Independent Online
A SURGEON yesterday revealed that he had been told to stop taking all but emergency and priority cases from non-fund- holding GPs. The claim by Anthony Leyshon, consultant orthopaedic surgeon at Dartford and Gravesham Trust, Kent, will be seen as evidence of a two- tier NHS system, writes Colin Brown.

Mr Leyshon said: 'On Tuesday of last week, we were told by the admissions office we could not admit patients who were non-fund-holding GPs' patients but we could admit fund-holders' patients to our hearts' content. Consultants looked forward to the health reforms on the basis that money would follow the patient and if you worked harder, you would get more resources. That is patently not happening. What is happening is that there is more of a squeeze.'

Trust executives have called an emergency meeting today to resolve the dispute. A spokesman said it involved a small number of cases, and emergencies from non-fund-holding GPs would be seen, but Dawn Primarolo, a Labour health spokeswoman, condemned the Government for damaging patient care. She said pounds 66m a year was spent on private management consultants by the NHS, which was enough to pay for the waiting lists to be reduced.