Revised DoH guidance on its Better Care Better Value prescribing indicators clarifies that they 'are not intended for use as targets'. The DoH guidance applies especially to the indicator for statin prescribing.
GPC deputy chairman Dr Richard Vautrey said the change followed concerns that some PCTs were trying to use the indicators as targets.
The indicators should be used to show practices and PCTs how activity compares with others in the country, he said. 'There will always be variation, just as it will always be the case that half will be below the average,' he said. 'Those that use these and other indicators need to understand that and always use these tools in a fully informed way, taking into account and understanding the local context.'
The Better Care Better Value indicators were developed by the NHS Institute for Innovation and Improvement.
The institute estimates that the NHS in England could save £2.4bn if all providers and commissioners matched the performance of the top quarter on each indicator.