Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

The Big Issues Facing Primary Care Provision; Philip Horsfield, Practice Manager and a Partner at the Village Green Surgery in Wallsend, Chairs the North Tyneside Practice Manager Forum and Is a Member of North Tyneside CCG''s Executive Committee

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

The Big Issues Facing Primary Care Provision; Philip Horsfield, Practice Manager and a Partner at the Village Green Surgery in Wallsend, Chairs the North Tyneside Practice Manager Forum and Is a Member of North Tyneside CCG''s Executive Committee

Article excerpt

I WONDER how awful primary care is in London? When you look at the cataclysmic changes which the coalition government is heaping upon GPs, you have to ask why they are doing this.

Perhaps the local service provision around Westminster is so poor that they think that this is mirrored across the country? By contrast, the North East has some excellent Foundation Trusts and primary care services which deliver high quality patient outcomes in modern well-maintained premises.

These are the areas I see as our biggest issues: The commissioning landscape Local authorities are not used to dealing with GP practices. They are running the Public Health contracts (for example CVD Health Checks) using standard local authority contracts. One local manager is quoted as saying we will buy primary care services the same way we buy wheelie bins. Add to that the need to report work done to three different bodies using three different payment systems, and you can see problems building.

Pressures on income The recent changes to QOF (the Quality and Outcomes Framework) will make a deep hole in practice pockets if rapid action is not taken to ensure new targets are met. The combination of rising costs and static (or falling) income is a real challenge to many practices.

Loss of services to private providers One of the potentially most damaging reforms to the existing NHS family is the advent of AQP (Any Qualified Provider), which opens up local health markets to anyone who can fulfil the criteria. The Department of Health has made it clear that more services should be commissioned which GPs currently provide as AQP contracts. Each contract will be for a small service, but little by little practices will see income eroded.

The Care Quality Commission The cruel irony is that until March 2013, we were paid under QOF to achieve particular targets relating to the quality of our record keeping and the management of our services. …

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