Out-of-hours monitoring “should be encouraged”, says Alliance
The NHS Alliance has lent its support to On Call Care, theKent-based out-of-hours service provider recently reported to haveintroduced performance monitoring of its GPs.
While performancemonitoring has been criticised in some quarters – for increasingpressure on GPs to cut back on the number of referrals they make tosave money, for instance – the independent primary care body arguesthat it has value in letting doctors know what their colleagues aredoing in similar circumstances.
The Alliance says that "what isuseful in in-hours practice is equally important for out-of-hoursservices", and that comparing the numbers of referrals for commonconditions, prescribing decisions and home visits is an importantcomponent in ensuring high-quality care.
The Alliance says:"Sometimes doctors do not make home visits when they should, or fail torefer when a referral would ideally be indicated. At the same time,unnecessary referrals and medication can be as damaging to patient careas the opposite."
NHS Alliance chairman Dr Michael Dixon said:"I've experienced this sort of monitoring myself, so I know howuncomfortable it can feel at first.
"But what I and mycolleagues quickly learnt is that it is one of the most constructiveways for doctors to develop their own practice. It should be encouraged– not criticised or feared."
"Providing monitoring is based ondoctors sharing their clinical decisions with other doctors – notnonclinical staff interfering with clinical decisions – it can help allof us improve the care we give our patients. Thankfully, the days ofclinical isolation are long past."
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