New figures from the NHS Information Centre today show that GP practices in the UK continue to deliver high-quality care according to results from the 2007/08 Quality and Outcomes Framework (QOF).
In 2007/08 in England:
Figures for Scotland showed that GPs achieved 98.2% of all targets set out in QOF.
Commenting on the results, Dr Dean Marshall, chairman of the BMA's Scottish General Practitioners Committee said: "I am proud that once again Scotland's GPs and their staff have worked exceptionally hard to achieve these targets. More importantly, however, this is good news for patients – it means that more patients are being diagnosed promptly and getting the treatment they need and it is making a real difference to patient outcomes, reducing hospital admissions and saving lives."
He added: "It is gratifying that in this year's data the greatest improvement has been in the area of depression. Mental illness is an area which can often be overlooked by other sectors of the NHS."
The QOF was introduced as part of the new primary care contracting arrangements to reward practices for the quality of their services. Practices take part voluntarily and the scheme awards points for: specific aspects of clinical care, how well the practice is organised, the patient experience and the extra services the offered by the practice such as child health and maternity services. As a practice achieves more QOF points and provides more services, the payments to the practice will increase.
The NHS Information Centre's chief executive Tim Straughan said: "QOF is a mechanism for rewarding practices for the quality of care they provide to patients. By putting the results of every practice online, the NHS Information Centre is working to make more information about primary care services easily available to patients and the public."
Commenting on the Scottish results, Dr Marshall said: "I am pleased that patient satisfaction levels are once again high. It demonstrates that while politicians may not always appreciate and value the hard work and commitment of GPs, our patients do.
"Our government should be proud of the achievements of general practice and the great strides they are making towards improving how the NHS manages the care of patients with chronic disease."
A summary bulletin reporting the statistics for England is available here.
Information on the Scottish results are available here.
Did your practice achieve its QOF targets? Were you rewarded in any way for helping to achieve QOF? Your comments: (Terms and conditions apply)
"We achieved 999 points. We have not had any reward for these acheivements for the last 3 years." - Name and address supplied
"Scotland is to be congratulated for its great efforts and its contribution to improving the health of the population. Our practice targets are improving too. We reset ours annually in line with the changes to QOF, particularly for the areas we cover where we consider what we have achieved to be good. All staff contributed to our good achievement and are rewarded by our employers according to the individual's contribution to the process." - V Henry, London
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