The problem is that the patients are currently demanding test referrals from their personal doctor – and the doctors are sanctioning them regardless of medical need rather than refuse them.
Refusing tests would risk the patient exercising the option to select a different personal doctor (subject to minimum period) and thereby reduce the doctor’s annual income. There is also the remote risk that the patient is later revealed to have a condition which might have been flagged or even diagnosed if the tests had been ordered. When confronted with patients demanding tests it is easier to sanction them and doing so keeps patients happy, gets them out of the consulting rooms quicker and costs the doctor nothing. It is to be hoped that the initial surge of patients demanding tests will subside and that patients will learn to allow their doctor to make medical judgements rather than ignorantly/arrogantly/stupidly insist that they always know best.
The propensity for any specific doctor to order tests can be measured and the rate of positive vs. negative tests can be determined but there is no provision for disincentivising excessive test referrals and a doctor can always justify their actions by claiming that she/he perceived a genuine medical need – and who can argue with that?
My experience is that blood tests are conducted very swiftly with results (and the laboratories’ claims for payment from HIO) appearing online within hours of samples being taken. This suggests that the labs have adequate capacity to meet that demand so at least the concern doesn’t extend to waiting lists (which is an unquantified concern for some treatments).
In passing I’d just note that I can’t agree with the assertion in the editorial that ” the implementation of the first stage of Gesy has been a resounding success”. Far too many mistakes and omissions in the plans (which were hardly worthy of that label) with so much being patched-up in an unsustainable manner by stuffing mouths with gold and too much still not resolved.