I have been sent the following by a GP colleague in Hertfordshire:
GPs in Hertfordshire have been told by the PCTs and PEC Chairs that they are to stop all routine referrals until after April, and only refer "urgent cases". They have also been told that in so doing, any mishap befalling the patient not referred will not lead to their indemnification by the PCT.
All patients referred will wait at lease twelve weeks, and various patient access pathways have been set up, which lead to a longer pathway, and in many cases a blocked pathway to a Consultant Outpatient appointment.
Patients are now unaware, (in many cases) that referrals are now sent, not direct to outpatients or Consultant secretaries, but to a "clearing house" which vets the referrral. The "clearing house" is staffed by non clinical people, leading to a child with an eye problem, being seen in a general surgery clinic, despite the letter being clearly marked with the eye Consultant's name, and Ophthalmological Dept.