And So to Bed: Access to Inpatient Services
The general practitioner is often spoken of as fulfilling the role of gatekeeper within the NHS. The analogy is entirely apt. As a consequence of the convention, dating back to the early part of this century, that consultants should only see non-emergency patients who have first been referred by a GP, doctors working in primary care largely control access to hospital services. It is worth re-iterating that hospital consultants can themselves greatly influence the dynamics of outpatient work by means of their own practice with regard to the follow-up of both inpatients and outpatients.
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