Published: 27/03/2003, Volume II3, No. 5848 Page 11

Doctors and other health professionals working in day-surgery units must persuade primary care trusts that day surgery is good for patients, a British Association of Day Surgery conference heard last week.

Delegates were told that despite the benefits of reduced waiting times, many PCTs are not pressing their local acute trusts to increase their day-surgery rates. It also heard that GPs are often reluctant to recommend the benefits of day surgery to patients.

Despite every PCT being invited to the conference, no representatives from primary care attended.

Modernisation Agency director of service improvements Michael Scott said the leading role of PCTs in commissioning meant they were crucial: 'PCTs really must drive these changes. PCTs have to have a greater understanding of this and I do not have a sense that is happening right now.'

BADS president David Ralphs said part of the problem was concerns among GPs: 'The general reaction of GPs to day surgery is a degree of reticence, because they fear it is going to increase their workload.'

However, Department of Health primary care national clinical lead for access and choice Dr David Carson told the conference: 'The message for you is to go out there and meet them. do not wait for them to come to you - they probably never will. It can be quite effective if you go and put your agenda onto their agenda.'