Practices pilot potential clinical quality indicators

RCGP Conference 2008 - Pilots for practice accreditation set up by the RCGP are also trialling a new method for deciding clinical indicators for the quality framework.

A total of 36 practices have worked on the pilots over the past three months, and will now undergo assessment visits.

But as part of the package they were also asked to pilot potential new indicators for the quality framework over a six-month period.

They have been undertaking patient-level activities on peripheral arterial disease and learning disabilities - creating registers, monitoring referrals and tests, and carrying out health checks.

Professor Helen Lester, the GP leading this aspect of the pilots, is also co-lead of the expert panel that advises the GPC and DoH on the content of the quality framework.

She said the expert panel had been trying to convince the DoH for 'at least 18 months' of the need to pilot indicators.

'We develop the indicators as best we can but still at the end of the day we have a largely untested indicator that suddenly gets thrown out to GPs in April and they are expected to respond,' Professor Lester pointed out.

'There is amazing uptake, but we all know there are dangers. Also, we need education going out to GPs to help them do the work.'

Professor Lester said the plan to allow NICE to take over the selection of quality indicators was now out for consultation. 'I am having my say to help ensure that experts from primary care academia will still have a say on these indicators for general practice.'

colin.cooper@haymarket.com

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