Magazine article Public Finance

Peak Performance?

Magazine article Public Finance

Peak Performance?

Article excerpt

This week, a precedent was set. For the first time, a performance assessment of GP practices was published by the Department of Health based on quality of care, organisational ability and patient experience.

Ministers were quick to point out the strong overall outcome, with practices, on average, achieving 91% of the points possible. Their reward is an extra £200m from the coffers of already hard-pressed primary care trusts.

Checking on an individual GP practice was decidedly trickier, however. Detailed information posted on the NHS's Health and Social Care Information Centre website was harder to get at than Tony Blair's holiday destination. And its title - quality and outcomes framework information - was hardly aimed at setting the pulse racing.

The department's reticence is no shock. Richmond House mandarins are fearful of 'crude comparisons' being made between the performance of GP practices. If it were not for the threat from the Freedom of Information legislation, it is unlikely that such detailed statistics would have been published at all.

But, inevitably, patients and the media will take advantage to assess the comparative performance of local surgeries. …

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