Nurses work harder as QOF scores rise in most domains

This year's QOF achievements show that nurses in general practice are working harder than ever to deliver better outcomes for their employers.

All QOF scores have risen apart from those in the patient experience domain, while practice nurse numbers fell.

Total QOF achievement for 2008/9 in clinical, organisational and additional services, which do not include the patient survey, rose to 97.4% in England.

Yet practice nurse numbers fell by 1,749 in the past two years from a peak of 23,797 in 2006.

The fall in practice nurses has been blamed on drops in practice income. But strong QOF outcomes are vital to general practice, with the target system providing up to a third of practice income.

Jenny Aston, chair of the RCN Advanced Nurse Practitioner forum, said practice-based nurses are definitely working harder.

‘The targets are getting harder year by year and we are having to put more effort in.'

Despite higher scores in the three other domains, new patient experience indicators depressed overall QOF scores throughout the UK.

Practices in England averaged 954 points out of 1,000 for 2008/9, down 13.8 points on the 2007/8 score, NHS Information Centre data show.

Practices in Scotland scored 972 points on average in 2008/9, down 10 points.

In Northern Ireland practices achieved the best scores in the UK, falling only 13.6 points to 973 points for 2008/9. Practices in Wales scored 956 points on average, down 16.9 points.

Read the full version of this story in this week's edition of Independent Nurse dated 5 October


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