Exclusive: Private firms score less on quality points

More than half of practices run by private companies score below the England average in the quality framework, according to a GP survey.

Of the 30 practices run by private providers during 2006/7, 16 were below the England average score of 954 points.

Across all practices run by private providers during 2006/7 the average score was 922, 3 per cent below the England average.

Last month GP reported that PCT-run practices averaged 810. Among the practices were some with particularly low scores, including the Chilvers McCrea-run Brighton Homeless Healthcare Centre with a score of 752 and Intra Health’s Chiltern Hills Medical Practice, Dunstable, Bedfordshire, on 800.

Other poor performers included Concordia’s Parkside and Melbourne Grove medical practices, both in Southwark, south-east London and on 803 and 828 respectively.

With the exception of one practice, the Chilvers McCrea-run St Lukes Medical Centre in Canning Town, east London, all 16 were also below the average scores for practices in their PCT areas.

Chilvers McCrea chairman Dr Rory McCrea said that a key reason why so many privately run practices under perform in the quality framework ‘is because often they are practices that no-one wanted to run in the first place and had a range of problems that needed fixing’.

The firm makes up the bulk of the list of the practices run privately during 2006/7 with 22, half of which achieved below average quality framework scores during that period.

‘In some of our practices there have been historical problems with IT infrastructure and with HR. Some have been sorted quicker than others,’ he said, adding that he expects better scores from a number of his firm’s practices with below average scores in 2007/8.

Concordia Health, which is run by joint architects of the 2004 GMS contract Drs Simon Fradd and John Chisholm, took over the Parkside and Melbourne Park practices in July 2006.

Dr Fradd said: ‘We had a lot of catching up to do. Basics were not in place, such as no flu vaccines had been ordered.’

He denied that employing salaried GPs acts as a quality framework disincentive, an argument used to explain low scores in PCT-run practices.

‘To be honest, you don’t need GPs for the quality framework. It is not a GP function, most of it is administrative and nursing.’

Among the better performers were Care UK’s Broad Street practice in Dagenham, Essex, with a score of 974. Also Intra Health’s three other practices all had scores above the England average.

A spokesperson for Intra Health added that the Chiltern Hills practice is expected to achieve a quality framework score of 950 by the end of the current financial year.

GPC chairman Dr Laurence Buckman said: ‘Many of these practices come from a low base to start with, so it is not a surprise that so many have low quality scores but what I would want to see is an improvement over time.’


Comment below and tell us what you think

Have you registered with us yet?

Register now to enjoy more articles and free email bulletins


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...