Depression achievement in QOF falls

Practice QOF scores for depression fell in 2009/10 as GPs struggled to gain points for the new DEP3 indicator, figures show.

Dr Dunn: assessment time limit should be expanded (Photograph: Jason Heath Lancy)

Although overall achievement in Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales was similar in 2008/9 and 2009/10, performance in the depression domain dropped by up to 10 per cent.

Introduced in 2009/10, DEP3 is worth up to 20 points for assessing severity of depression five to 12 weeks after diagnosis.

Last year, practices in Scotland achieved just 71 per cent of available points for the new indicator, compared with more than 90 per cent in other depression indicators. As a result, achievement in the depression domain fell 10 per cent.

Performance was similar in Northern Ireland, where practices gained 76 per cent of DEP3 points, causing a drop of almost 9 per cent in the depression domain as a whole.

Dr Brian Dunn, chairman of Northern Ireland GPC, said GPs had struggled to complete reviews within the time limit, which he believes should be expanded. He also criticised the inclusion of patient survey results in QOF after scores in Northern Ireland fell by 8 per cent to 80 per cent.

'We're inundated by GPs who can show what access to general practice was, and that it doesn't concord with the survey,' he said.

In 2009/10, true prevalence was used to calculate earnings for the first time after negotiators scrapped both the square root and a lower limit on earnings.

Practices in Northern Ireland achieved 96.2 per cent of QOF scores overall, a slight drop of 1.1 per cent.

Welsh practices reached 95.2 per cent, down 0.4 per cent, while scores in Scotland were stationary at 97.2 per cent.

Pay Details

Average QOF pay, GMS practices

  • Scotland: £130,778 (up by £1,344)
  • Northern Ireland: £119,134 (up by £1,624)
  • Wales: data unavailable

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