Mental health QOF targets are intentionally difficult

GPs in England have had problems hitting quality framework targets for lithium therapy and schizophrenia indicators, figures for 2006/7 have shown.

Practices in England scored just 60.1 per cent of available points for schizophrenia, bipolar disorder and other psychoses. They scored only 83.1 per cent for treatment with lithium.

Achievement was lowest in the mental health domain, worth 39 quality points, with GPs in England achieving 91.6 per cent of mental health targets.

A similar pattern was seen across the rest of the UK. Northern Ireland scored highest with 94.6 per cent, followed by Scotland at 90.8 per cent and Wales with 86.7 per cent.

Dr Tim Saunders, GP and mental health lead for Chester West PCT, was surprised by this low level of achievement.

'The problem is due to the way data is transferred and recorded between specialists and GPs. A lot of patients on lithium are under the care of mental health specialists and not GPs', he said.

Systems needed to be put in place to aid recall, said Dr Ian Walton, West Midlands GP and chairman of Primary Care Mental Health and Education.He suggested that mental health link workers in primary care could help ensure these patients were medically reviewed by GPs.

Dr Alan Cohen, South London GP and director of primary care at the Sainsbury Centre for mental health, said the schizophrenia indicator was difficult to achieve: 'It was designed to be tough so that it makes GPs work hard to achieve the outcome. The indicator should remain in place because it is of enormous benefit to mental health patients.'

Lithium scores were likely to be low because the treatment was being used less frequently in general practice, he added.

GPC chairman Dr Laurence Buckman said that changes to the quality framework, which include the lithium therapy and schizophrenia indicators, were designed to make it harder to achieve maximum points.

sanjay.tanday@haymarket.com

Comment below and tell us what you think 

Have you registered with us yet?

Register now to enjoy more articles and free email bulletins

Register

Already registered?

Sign in

Follow Us:

Just published

First COVID-19 jabs to target care home residents and staff under new JCVI advice

First COVID-19 jabs to target care home residents and staff under new JCVI advice

Older adults living in care homes and staff working there will be first to receive...

GPs unable to veto virtual fitness to practise hearings during pandemic

GPs unable to veto virtual fitness to practise hearings during pandemic

GPs facing fitness to practise investigations during the COVID-19 pandemic will be...

Government rejects major NHSPS overhaul - but changes 'could ease GP service charge disputes'

Government rejects major NHSPS overhaul - but changes 'could ease GP service charge disputes'

A government review has rejected calls for a major overhaul of an NHS Property Services...

RCGP urges GPs to collaborate with pharmacies on flu jabs this year

RCGP urges GPs to collaborate with pharmacies on flu jabs this year

The RCGP and the Royal Pharmaceutical Society have called on GP practices and community...

GP appointments rising fast as COVID-19 cases 'near 10,000 a day'

GP appointments rising fast as COVID-19 cases 'near 10,000 a day'

GP appointments have risen rapidly in recent weeks as schools returned, according...

COVID-19 impact on medical schools risks 'serious damage' to future NHS workforce

COVID-19 impact on medical schools risks 'serious damage' to future NHS workforce

Medical training and the future NHS workforce could be seriously damaged by the financial...