GP practice league tables must be 'driven and owned' by GPs, DoH says

Publication of GP practice league tables must be 'driven and owned' by GPs and not impose additional work on practices, the DoH's medical director says.

Professor Keogh: GP practice league tables have to be driven and owned by GPs
Professor Keogh: GP practice league tables have to be driven and owned by GPs

Professor Bruce Keogh said publication of clinical outcome and prescribing data for GP practices in England would only work if GPs decide how it will work.

Speaking after the launch of the government’s new transparency commitment in London on Thursday, he said: ‘This has got to be driven and owned by GPs. What we don’t want is other dark forces at work. This has got to be really owned by GPs.’

Professor Keogh said GPs might be nervous of the government’s plans. Giving GPs ownership of how data publication worked would be the only way to ‘attenuate that nervousness’, he said.

But he said GPs would not be able to decide whether or not to become involved. ‘This will not be optional,’ he said. ‘What is optional is what we progress. Whether we progress is not optional.’

Professor Keogh said that the RCGP’s network of clinical leads would develop the outcomes measures used.

But he stressed that the measures would be entirely based on data already available and would not impose additional work on practices.

‘We will only use information that is already there,’ he said. ‘We’re not going to ask people to make another key stroke, unless they want to.’

He said any data used had to provide fair comparisons between practices. ‘We have to be fair,’ he said. ‘Our GPs are good and I want people to understand that is my starting position.’

The DoH has said the indicators used would follow the lead of NHS London which has agreed a set of 22 indicators with local GPs (see below).

Dr Howard Freeman, associate medical director of primary care at NHS London and a GP in South West London said NHS London welcomed the Government’s announcement. 

'In London, we’ve worked together to produce a simple, single set of information for our patients and GPs to use,' he said. 'We are working with the Mayor’s office, Londonwide LMCs and GPs across the capital to give as much useful information as possible to the public.'

He added: 'Ultimately, this will help GPs to continue to improve the quality of services they provide.'

London’s GP practice outcome standards
1. One year cancer survival rates for breast cancer and lung cancer
2. Cancer prevalence
3. Cervical screening
4. GP recorded smoking (Whole population)
5. GP recorded smoking (Longterm conditions)
6. Atrial fibrillation prevalence
7. Immunisation uptake
8. Influenza immunisation uptake
9. Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) prevalence
10. Asthma prevalence
11. Diabetes prevalence
12. Coronary heart disease prevalence (CHD)
13. Dementia prevalence
14. Monitoring safe, rational and cost effective prescribing in general practice
15. Emergency hospital admission rates for specific chronic conditions usually managed in primary care
16. A&E attendances
17. After consultation how well did you understand / feel better able to cope?
18. Satisfaction with overall care received at surgery
19. Patients changing practice without changing address
20. Ability to see a specific GP or Practice Nurse if wanted
21. Advanced appointments. Satisfaction with opening hours. Ease of getting through on the phone
22. Significant event reporting (One and three year targets)

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