Family doctors earned their surgeries thousands of pounds in bonuses by performing 'beyond expectation' last year, according to the first tables to assess quality of care.
The tables enable patients to check the performance of their GPs and assess their work in several areas. The average GP practice scored 91 per cent of the points available in an incentive scheme to improve their pay and raise standards for patients.
Under the new GP contracts, practices get a basic rate topped by bonus points in areas such as providing early flu injections for heart disease patients or ensuring flexible appointments. The contracts, which came into force last year, represent a revolution in primary care by paying GPs for results rather than for the number of patients they have.
The Department of Health yesterday released the first results from the scheme, called the Quality and Outcomes Framework (QOF). The department had estimated that the 8,486 practices in the scheme would score an average 730 points out of a possible 1,050, but they achieved 959, a pounds 74,229 bonus for each surgery. That gave the average partner in a GP practice pounds 100,000 a year.
In a rare display of unity, ministers and doctors agreed the new 'payment by results' contracts, …