Doctors are being paid bribes for not referring their patients to hospital specialists, it has emerged.

The bribes are being paid by some NHS clinical commissioning groups, such as in Lambeth and North East Lincolnshire, who deny that their actions could undermine patient trust in doctors, or compromise needed medical care. The bribes apply to referrals by doctors for cancer diagnosis.

However the British Medical Association says: “The BMA has always opposed schemes that pay GPs not to refer patients as they may undermine patient’s confidence that GPs will always do the right thing for them. There is also the potential risk that patients won’t get the specialist care they need”.

So why doesn’t the BMA just require all medical practitioners to be transparent and declare to all their patients all the bribes and incentives they are being offered, and by whom, and which ones they have accepted?

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