GPC concerned raw data may be used to rate practice performance

Unprocessed practice-level data published by the government this week could be used by the NHS Commissioning Board (NCB) to assess practice performance, the GPC has warned.

Dr Buckman: the GPC is concerned that PCT clusters and the future NCB could use the unprocessed data ‘for so-called performance management’
Dr Buckman: the GPC is concerned that PCT clusters and the future NCB could use the unprocessed data ‘for so-called performance management’

Speaking after the monthly GPC meeting in London on Thursday, GPC chairman Dr Laurence Buckman raised concerns about the government's publication of practice-level prescribing data and other practice performance figures.

He said: ‘I don’t think we’re scared about patients accessing their own data, I don’t have a problem with that, I think its uncontextualised data being released on mass in a way someday could create a league table out of when you don’t know about the practice.'

Dr Buckman said the GPC was concerned that PCT clusters and the future NCB could use the unprocessed data ‘for so-called performance management’ or league tables.

He said it would not be fair to compare practices using the unprocessed data.

‘If you’re going to use comparative data you have to make sure its comparative,’ he said. ‘It's about uncontextualised data being released on mass in the way somebody could construct a league table out of when you don’t know anything about the practice.'

Dr Buckman also said the GPC was concerned that patients were able to access other unprocessed and uncontextualised practice data such as mortality rates.

‘A practice that looks after a large number of old people or a terminally ill care centre is clearly going to have a death rate that is different (from other practices),’ Dr Buckman said.

GCP negotiator Dr Chand Nagpaul said the GPC was concerned that patients could be misled by the data.

‘We want the public to have confidence in the information they received. If it is inherently flawed it is the public and patients who are going to misunderstand and draw the wrong conclusions,’ he said.

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