PCTs urged to ensure 'continuous' practice quality improvement

The government has issued a document offering PCTs more than a dozen ways to ensure 'continuous quality improvement' in general practice.

Dr Richard Vautrey

The DoH paper, ‘Improving quality in primary care', proposes using tools including QOF, balanced scorecards and clinical dashboards to measure practice performance and motivate them to ‘raise the bar'.

‘We know that individuals within the NHS are already adopting the approaches needed to promote continuous quality improvement,' it says. ‘The next challenge is to apply these methods universally and systematically.'

The document suggests that ‘over time' the balance between ‘national and local investment' must change, to allow PCTs to tailor services better to their populations.

But it warns them not to create ‘a culture in which providers expect additional payment before implementing good or effective clinical practice'.

It says QOF was intended to ‘provide initial incentives that embed evidence-based care within general practice'.

GPC deputy chairman Dr Richard Vautrey said the document was ‘effectively a summary' of policies already underway.

But he added: ‘It shows that there's been such a plethora of initiatives it's no wonder practices feel that bureaucracy is weighing down on them.'

The document also warns PCTs of the need to ‘engage' with clinicians ‘to achieve continuous improvements in quality and reduce unnecessary pressures and costs in secondary care'.

Read this week's GP dated 16 October for the full version of this story

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