[an error occurred while processing this directive]
BBC News
watch One-Minute World News
Last Updated: Friday, 27 May, 2005, 12:01 GMT 13:01 UK
Patients' check-up on surgeries
The performance of GPs has been monitored
The performance of GPs has been monitored
New figures allowing patients to check up on how well their GP surgeries are performing have been published.

The database shows how well doctors have scored against a new set of national standards.

The average score of the 913 practices which took part was 92.5% with points awarded for improving the long-term health of patients.

Health Minister Andy Kerr said the marks were "a significant achievement" by practices.

The British Medical Association said the figures demonstrated the high standards of care that GPs were delivering.

The data published today enables patients for the first time to access information on the performance of their practice
Andy Kerr
Health Minister

However, some GPs are concerned the figures could be turned into an unfair league table of doctors.

They have warned that it is unfair to compare surgeries when staffing numbers and the nature of premises affect how many points doctors can hope to achieve.

The Scottish Executive insists these measures will reward quality care.

Mr Kerr said surgeries had scored "very highly" across a range of quality indicators.

He said: "The data published today enables patients for the first time to access information on the performance of their practice.

"This is a voluntary scheme that has had a huge take-up by GP practices.

"It is an extremely promising start and as it continues to improve care over time, it should have a major impact on the health of our communities."

I believe GPs and their teams have done a magnificent job in delivering unparalleled standards of care to their patients and the quality achievement information has demonstrated this
Dr Mary Church
BMA Scotland

The system was introduced as part of a new contract for GPs allowing doctors to gain extra cash by earning points under the Quality Outcomes Framework.

Across the country, 77m was awarded to the practices which took part, equivalent to 75,000 each.

The figures take into account the quality of treatment of conditions such as asthma alongside organisational requirements like record-keeping and monitoring repeat medication.

Doctors were also measured on how well they meet the target of patients having access to a health professional by phone or in person within 48 hours.

Dr Mary Church is the joint chairman of the Scottish GP's committee of the British Medical Association and has been involved in setting up the database in Scotland.

She said: "A very large majority of practices scored very highly in the framework.

"In the past we were striving to provide good quality to our patients but the way we were paid did not recognise that quality.

Health Minister Andy Kerr
Andy Kerr praised the performance of GP surgeries across Scotland

"This new system recognises that but also broadens it out to cover the more difficult patients that we have to look after.

"I believe GPs and their teams have done a magnificent job in delivering unparalleled standards of care to their patients and the quality achievement information has demonstrated this."

She said the framework had encouraged GPs to chase some patients with chronic illnesses who were previously reluctant to visit a surgery regularly.

Dr Rupert Dunbar-Rees, a rural GP at the high-scoring Stow and Lauder health centre in the Borders, said: "Overall the improved management of our patients has enabled us to concentrate more effectively on the patients who may be having problems with their medication or compliance.

"The net effect is better patient care and we have already seen a number of patients benefit from improved clinical outcomes - and we've prevented some adverse outcomes too."

The Scottish National Party's health spokeswoman Shona Robison welcomed the new publication.

She said: "This will provide a useful tool to measuring the performance of GPs and seeing how they are delivering services in response to their new contract."

The database of GP surgery performance figures will be available via the Information Services Division (ISD) Scotland website.


SEE ALSO:
GPs debate out of hours service
29 Apr 04 |  Scotland
New contracts for family doctors
01 Apr 04 |  Scotland
GP contracts vote welcomed
20 Jun 03 |  Scotland


RELATED INTERNET LINKS:
The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites


PRODUCTS AND SERVICES

News Front Page | Africa | Americas | Asia-Pacific | Europe | Middle East | South Asia
UK | Business | Entertainment | Science/Nature | Technology | Health
Have Your Say | In Pictures | Week at a Glance | Country Profiles | In Depth | Programmes
Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific