GPs lacking confidence in neurological referrals

OVER half of GPs in England do not feel confident in their ability to make an initial assessment and referral for people presenting with signs and symptoms of multiple sclerosis, and 84 per cent would see benefit in further training on identifying and managing people presenting with neurological conditions.

These are results of a survey and an expert workshop conducted by the Neurological Alliance.

The Neurology and Primary Care report also found that 85 per cent of GPs in England are either “somewhat concerned” or “extremely concerned” about the time taken from referral for patients to see a consultant neurologist. More than half of GPs (59 per cent) believe that the local services and systems in place in their area mean that people with neurological conditions frequently do not receive a timely diagnosis.

The report sets out eight recommendations aimed at improving the primary care pathway for people with neurological conditions, including a call for the development of a pan-neurological “watch list” of the 10 signs and symptoms GPs should be aware of during patient interactions in primary care settings.

Arlene Wilkie, CEO of the Neurological Alliance, said: “It is essential that NHS England and the Department of Health respond to these findings and engage with the concerns of GPs and people living with neurological conditions. Without an effective pathway through primary care, patients will continue to suffer the consequences of undue delays to referral, diagnosis and treatment, and outcomes will continue to suffer.”

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