The clampdown on some NHS operations could have “a considerable impact on patient experience”, according to the boss of Northampton General Hospital.
Dr Sonia Swart was responding to news that a GP panel will now scrutinise each patient with one of a list of conditions, from hip replacements to tonsils removal, before they can be sent for an operation.
It means cash-strapped NHS Nene will not pay for hospitals to perform the surgery unless the GPs have agreed it.
In the past, NGH has been able to treat all patients as long as there was a possibility of some benefit.
Dr Swart, a former medical director, said: “We are concerned at the process that is being adopted and will continue to manage the issue through established contract routes.
“In 2012/2013 we undertook about 2,000 of these procedures which could therefore have considerable impact on patient expectation and experience, and associated income for the trust.”
As reported in last week’s Chron, the prior approval list was drawn up several months ago. However bosses at NHS Nene felt they had to scrap payments to hospitals for unapproved operations because NGH and Kettering General Hospital were performing operations regardless.
The new non-payment policy began on Sunday.