NHS panel says publishing GP outcomes data can cut postcode lotteries

Practice data on outcomes and activity should be published to eliminate postcode lotteries in access to 'low clinical value' treatments, an NHS panel has concluded.

GP data: wider access
GP data: wider access
Most PCTs have lists restric­ting ‘non-urgent’ or ‘low clinical value’ treatments, such as knee replacement or bariatric surgery, but the lists vary from area to area. 

Patients, clinicians and commissioners should be able to access information on clinical activity and outcomes, the Quality, Innovation, Producti­vity and Prevention (QIPP) Right Care Team believes.

This could encourage res­earch into the relative value of different treatments and empower patients to question ‘low clinical value’ lists, it said. The panel said it planned to publish outcome and activity data in collaboration with the East Midlands Quality Obser­vatory.

This would be made available in a public-facing ‘procedures explorer’.

This ‘will allow patients, the public, commissioners and providers to access information on variation in clinical activity and outcomes at both a popu­lation, provider and GP practice or consultant level’, the team said.

The panel set out its recommendations in a report outlining emerging views on how decisions should be made on whether to fund ‘low clinical value treatments’.

The report argued that res­earch needed to examine the benefits to patients of interventions, ‘considering improvements in outcomes against available resource’.

‘There is certainly a need to encourage and support research into the value that populations derive from the implementation of high value care pathways and specific rates of intervention,’ the report said.

As GP reported last week, the team also advised that cataract and knee surgery and other ‘low clinical value’ treatments should only be restricted on evidence-based criteria.

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