Self-referrals could free up more GP appointments, according to MP

Self-referrals could free up more GP appointments, according to MP

by Tom Martin (July 2022)

SOUTHPORT MP Damien Moore believes more self-referrals could unlock more GP appointments following complaints from local patients that they are struggling to see their doctor.

The town’s MP has revealed he has been speaking to “several constituents” who say they are finding it difficult to get an appointment with their GP.

In one case, Mr Moore was told that some patients were asked to call their GP at 8am, only to be faced with a wait of several hours on hold.

It follows a report by the Champion last week that revealed the results of patient survey carried out by Healthwatch Sefton that showed how many people struggled to get a face-to-face appointment at their local surgery last year.

Mr Moore recently met with the Health Minister responsible for Primary Care to discuss access to GP appointments, and to explore possible ways to increase patient self-referral in Southport.

In his meeting with the Minister, Mr Moore suggested that patient choice could be promoted by making all routine community patient services self-referral, thereby freeing-up GPs’ time by not using them as “administrative gatekeepers”, and allowing patients the freedom to refer themselves for the treatment they need.

Mr Moore said: “Southport’s GPs do fantastic work providing front-line healthcare to our local community, and I pay tribute to the many that have gone above and beyond in their service to the public, particularly over the past few years.

“Unfortunately, many have to spend their precious and valuable time referring patients who could otherwise refer themselves. Patient self-referral models already exist in other areas of healthcare, but for hearing loss, the process remains stuck in the past, resulting in fewer GP appointments for those who genuinely need it.

“I will continue working hard to address this issue and progress this initiative, so that everybody who needs care in Southport is able to get that care.”

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