DoH plans to incentivise GPs for stroke strategy

The quality framework indicators for stroke could be expanded to help GPs achieve proposals outlined in the DoH's national stroke strategy, according to the health secretary.

Alan Johnson took part in a live web chat last week in which he responded to a question posted by GP about whether GPs would be incentivised for providing extra stroke services, such as prescribing statins and smoking cessation.

Mr Johnson replied: 'The answer is "yes", GPs will be incentivised to concentrate on prevention and early diagnosis.

'The introduction of the quality framework dimension of GP pay in 2006 has had a real, beneficial effect because for the first time GPs are incentivised and rewarded for these preventive measures.

'This is a crucial part of the stroke strategy but also essential to so many other illnesses and in our objective of ensuring that we do not have a national sickness service but a genuine health service where prevention is as important as cure.'

However, a DoH spokesman said: 'There are already plenty of inclusions in the quality framework for a wide range of vascular interventions, including stroke.'

Currently, GPs can score up to five quality points for lowering cholesterol to 5mmol/l in patients who have had a stroke or TIA.

But in the stroke strategy, the DoH says that up to 20,000 strokes in England could be prevented if statins were given to people with a 20 per cent or greater risk of a cardiovascular event in 10 years.

Surrey GP Dr John Pittard, a member of the Primary Care Cardiovascular Society, said: 'At the moment the quality framework does not mention giving statins to stroke patients.

'There is no real excuse for not putting patients who have suffered a stroke or TIA on statins.'

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