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QOF mental health indicators do not lower rates of suicide

Incentivising practices to improve care for patients with a mental illness through QOF has had no effect on suicide rates, according to new research.

The study from the University of Manchester and University of York investigated the relationship between severe mental illness and depression QOF indicators, and the suicide rates in England from 2006 to 2014.

The paper concluded that while 38,511 suicides were recorded in England during that time, there was no association between QOF indicator performance and local suicide rates.

But they added that primary care efforts can have positive results in the reduction of suicide rates.

The authors wrote: ‘Primary care has an important role to play in suicide prevention, but we did not observe a link between practices’ higher reported quality of care on incentivised mental health activities and lower suicide rates in the local population.

‘It is likely that effective suicide prevention needs a more concerted, multiagency approach.’

Br J Psych 2018, online 30 Jul