"Referral made with no choice offered"

About: Cumbria, Northumberland, Tyne and Wear

(as the patient),

Visiting a Rheumatologist for problems in my hands, I also mentioned similar trouble in my left knee. I was referred for a MRI scan but was unable to undergo the scan because of claustrophobia. I visited the GP to seek advice and she without ever examining my knee, challenged why the rheumatologist was investigating my knee problem. Without further ado she said she would refer me to an organisation I'd never heard of to look at my knee. When asked for further information she was vague and either unwilling or unable to do so.

Investigation revealed that I was not being referred to an orthopaedic specialist but to a private business which has as it's directors four local GPs, one of whom is the senior GP in my practice. The business in question seemingly provides musculoskeletal services though their website address does not exist, and I can find no other clinical formation about the company other than one of the directors is a GP with a special interest in musculoskeletal medicine.

I find it concerning that a) I was referred without the GP even looking at my knee b) the referral was made with no choice offered and c) the referral was made to a company in which the senior GP at the practice has a financial interest as a director of the company concerned.

On more minor matters, the appointment letter I received for my consultation with the GP with the special interest or 'a member of his team' was, shall we say, a bit iffy. Apart from obviously being sent from the Practice where this special interest GP is based (I wonder whether there are appropriate accounting systems in place for the apportionment of costs), the web address quoted does not exist.

In addition, the registered office quoted is an old address and not that currently registered at Companies House. Whilst the phone number shown is that of the special interest GP's practice, the only registered number for the company providing the musculoskeletal services is a mobile number - a bit odd.

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