£30,000 quality premium for practices to be based on local targets

Quality premium payments to clinical commissioning groups (CCGs), worth up to £30,000 per practice, will be based on three local targets as well as national ones, the NHS Commissioning Board (NHSCB) has revealed.

Dr Mark Porter: ‘We are concerned the quality premium could exacerbate health inequalities.'

Plans published by the NHSCB today revealed that the annual payment – which is expected to be £5 per patient which amounts to £30,000 for the average practice - would not be paid to England’s 211 clinical commissioning groups (CCGs) if they are overspent or if they have a ‘significant quality failure’ during the year.

The three local measures have to be agreed with the NHSCB after ‘consideration’ from the CCG’s health and wellbeing board and ‘key stakeholders’ which the NHSCB has identified as patients and ‘local community representatives’.

The NHSCB said it will publish a methodology to be used for calculating the quality premium, but it has not said when.

BMA chairman Dr Mark Porter said: ‘We are concerned that the quality premium could exacerbate health inequalities, as CCGs in deprived populations could find it more difficult to achieve any financial award available. We therefore remain opposed to the quality premium as currently proposed.’

The quality premium will also be based on CCGs’ performance against four national measures, including preventing unnecessary deaths, avoiding hospital admissions, patient feedback, and care-acquired MRSA and C difficile infections.

The NHSCB’s chief executive, Sir David Nicholson said: ‘There are big challenges – not least the financial backdrop – but we must be ambitious. We want to make the NHS the best customer service in the world by doing more to put patients in the driving seat. We are determined to focus on outcomes and the rights people have under the NHS Constitution, as well as ensure those most in need gain most from the support we provide.

‘At the heart of our approach is local control over decision making. We want to put power in the hands of clinicians who know their patients best. We want to give them the money, information and tools to do the job. And we want the public to have the information they need to make choices and participate fully in the development of their health services.’

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