‘Medical profession highly critical of restricted referral and its negative impact on patient care’ argues WPA


Open referral, where GPs do not refer their insured patients to a named consultant because the insurer directs patients to a limited selection of recognised consultants, pioneered by BUPA has received unanimous disapproval of consultants following a recent GfKNOP survey according to medical insurer, WPA.

WPA quotes the results from the survey as follow:

93% disapprove [17%] or strongly disapprove [76%] of open referral

96% believe that open referral gives patients less [45%] or no choice [51%]

87% think that open referral gives patients less effective treatment

Julian Stainton, the Chief Executive of WPA, comments:

“Medical insurance is purchased to attain greater choice and control than would otherwise be available in the NHS. Insurers limit these at our peril”

“Medical decisions about medical matters should be made by medical people. Cheapness is rarely a proxy for quality”