Balanced scorecards 'to replace GP contract'

Balanced scorecards could eventually replace the GP contract, the project director of the King's Fund inquiry into general practice has warned.

NIck Goodwin: It means practices are rated down when really they just have a difficult population
NIck Goodwin: It means practices are rated down when really they just have a difficult population

King's Fund senior fellow Nick Goodwin said PCTs are using scorecards to commission services and monitor quality.

'The DoH has made it clear that the balanced scorecard is its preferred model to commission primary care services. It seems in future a lot of primary care is going to be commissioned by PCTs looking to bypass the national contract,' he told the NHS Alliance conference in Manchester last week.

'Initially, they are talking about using scorecards to make enhanced service payments. We may get to a point where there is no GP contract and balanced scorecards are used instead.'

The DoH is developing a national balanced scorecard, and many PCTs are performance managing practices using scorecards of their own. But Mr Goodwin warned that widespread use of scorecards will lead to 'big problems'.

'At practice-level, it becomes a very crude tool and means practices are rated down when really they just have a difficult population.'

A DoH spokesman said there were no plans to link practice income to balanced scorecards. But a recent DoH policy document, Improving Quality in Primary Care, says PCTs 'may want to introduce incentives' for practices based on scorecard ratings.

Mr Goodwin said the national scorecard was likely to contain about 85 indicators, on factors such as QOF, access, prescribing and patient-reported outcomes.

GPC negotiator Dr Chaand Nagpaul said the idea of scorecards replacing the contract was 'far-fetched', but the 'mushrooming' use of balanced scorecards was a concern.

'It will be a highly erroneous way to commission services. We know practices vary hugely within a PCT and scorecards do not compare like with like.'

The King's Fund is currently seeking the views of GPs on how to measure quality as part of the first phase of its 18-month inquiry into the quality of general practice in England.

Have you registered with us yet?

Register now to enjoy more articles and free email bulletins

Register

Already registered?

Sign in

Follow Us:

Just published

Child coughing

NICE traffic light tool that helps GPs spot seriously ill under-5s 'unreliable'

NICE's 'traffic light' system - intended to help GPs indentify risk of serious illness...

Vaccination tracker

UK COVID-19 vaccination programme tracker

GPs across the UK have led the largest-ever NHS vaccination programme in response...

GMC sign

Overseas-graduate GPs fare worse in medical tribunals due to lack of legal help

UK GPs who graduated overseas face worse outcomes in GMC cases because they are far...

Woman using HRT patch

Practical advice for GPs on prescribing HRT

GP menopause specialists Dr Louise Newson and Dr Olivia Jones provides an overview...

NHS logo on tiled wall

PCNs falling short on 26,000 staff target and need more flexibility, GPs warn

Government plans to bring in 26,000 staff by 2024 to support general practice are...

Talking General Practice logo with picture of Dr Ed Cantelo and Dr Tommy Perkins

Podcast: How two GPs set up a business to advise doctors about finance

Talking General Practice speaks to GPs Dr Tommy Perkins and Dr Ed Cantelo from Medics...