Watchdog calls for 'systematic' statin checks

Concern as CQC urges tougher QOF targets and moves to step up scrutiny of prescribing.

Dr Bill Beeby: poor quality data
Dr Bill Beeby: poor quality data

PCTs are to be given practice-level data on statin prescribing to help 'performance manage' GP prescribing, the Care Quality Commission (CQC) has said.

In a report last week the CQC said PCTs should 'systematically monitor' GP statin prescribing and take action against inefficient GPs. The report also calls for higher QOF targets.

A CQC spokeswoman told GP it would make practice-level data available to DoH national support teams for the first time. 'We hope this is helpful to NHS performance management,' she said.

The report looked at inequalities in cardiovascular disease (CVD) and smoking cessation services. It said 'less cost-efficient' statin prescribing was linked to worse patient outcomes. 'GP practices that prescribe less cost-efficiently also tend to have lower performance levels for cholesterol management,' the report said.

'PCTs should feed back to GPs any inequalities in prescribing and take action where necessary to ensure prescribing is cost efficient.'

The report also argued that QOF thresholds for cardiovascular indicators should be raised to cut health inequalities.

The report says upper and lower thresholds for the cholesterol indicator CHD 8 should go up to boost performance.

GPC prescribing lead Dr Bill Beeby told GP the report was drawing a lot from poor data. 'I don't see how it has drawn the conclusions it has from the data in the report,' he said.

He added: 'I am quite concerned that the CQC is making recommendations about what NICE should do with QOF, when NICE should be looking at the evidence for changes to QOF.'

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