Leader: Flawed quality plan on ethnicity

The revised GMS quality framework includes a single point for recording the ethnicity of new patients.

The guidance states this is because ethnicity needs to be taken into account to provide 'appropriate individual care'.

Few would disagree that this is an important factor given that one's ethnic origin can predispose one to certain conditions, whether that be diabetes in south-east asians or forms of heart disease in the Scots and Northern Irish.

Indeed, with the increasingly sophisticated levels of data mapping available, such data could help predict disease levels in geographical areas and adjust health budgets, and therefore resources.

However, the half-hearted approach in the quality framework will not provide this. Given patient churn rates, it would take 20 years to collect any meaningful data by just recording new patients.

In addition, a single point does not recognise the importance of this project. If the DoH really wants to ensure the right resources are applied and a healthier population in the future, it must invest properly in this area and not leave it as another task on the GP's list.

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