Exclusive: PCT-run practices score 14 per cent lower on quality

Practices run by PCTs achieve consistently lower quality framework (QOF) scores than independently run practices, according to a GP survey.

Dr Richard Vautrey

It found that PCT-run practices in England achieved an average QOF score of only 810 points in 2006/7. They are underachieving the England average by 144 points or 14 per cent.

The great majority of PCT-run practices underachieve significantly even in terms of their own PCT. Eighty-six per cent of 76 practices identified in 30 PCTs fell below the national average for England and 67 failed to reach the average for their own PCT.

The lowest scoring PCT-run practice identified by GP was the Meadowell Centre in Watford, run by West Hertfordshire PCT. Meadowell achieved a QOF score of only 403, 560 points below its own PCT average.

A West Hertfordshire PCT spokeswoman said: ‘It has a small, very specialised, case load which does not emulate the normal GMS/PMS practice profile for West Hertfordshire PCT. The QOF achievement, on its own, is not representative of the specialised care that this practice provides to the registered patients.’

GPC deputy chairman Dr Richard Vautrey said: ‘It is common knowledge that PCT-run practices have been struggling.

‘They have found it hard to retain staff and have higher running costs than GMS practices because of the number of locums that are used to deliver care.

‘The results show that practices run by PCTs are failing. This is a clear indication that PCTs should not be running practices.’

GMS and PMS practices offer better value for money as well as providing higher quality services, said Dr Vautrey.

prisca.middlemiss@haymarket.com

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