Staff training and data gathering key to IT DES

A breakdown of how all practices in England can earn £1.33 per patient for preparing for Connecting for Health initiatives under an IT directed enhanced service (DES) was published this week.

The DES is split into four components. The first, worth 40p per patient, is paid from April after practices agree a plan for hitting targets with their PCT.

The plan will include nominating a practice lead to liaise with the IT agency and appointing a Caldicott guardian responsible for protecting patient data.

Practices will also need to assess staff training requirements and create a training plan for all staff who use IT systems, as well as provide evidence that the practice uses confidentiality clauses in staff contracts and complies with the Data Protection Act.

Practices will also have to keep a log of all staff training, including locum induction.

A second component, worth 44p per patient, covers preparing patient information to be uploaded to a national patient record database.

Practices will be accredited by their PCT if they demonstrate adherence to 16 markers covering standards for data entry, information governance and general organisation.

Practices will have to demonstrate adherence to the RCGP and GPC Good Practice Guidelines on data quality, and undergo a PCT visit.

The third component involves regular updating of patient addresses and preparation for electronic prescribing, and is worth 27p per patient.

The final incentive is 22p per patient for moving to a practice IT system accredited by Connecting for Health and 'hosted' remotely - meaning data is held on central servers.

The last three elements will be paid for on their completion.

GPC IT subcommittee chairman Dr Paul Cundy said: 'We told the DoH it would get what it paid for. It is not paying much, so should not expect many people to do it.' He said funding would need to be tripled to interest many practices, and that small practices would be disadvantaged.

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