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£26,000 on offer for DESs

New directed enhanced services for access and chronic conditions in Northern Ireland could earn an average practice up to £26,000 next year.

New directed enhanced services for access and chronic conditions in Northern Ireland could earn an average practice up to £26,000 next year.

The potential income from the £4 million investment in DESs is proportionally less than for GPs in England, but GPC negotiators predicted it would be easier to get all of the money on offer.

The access DES requires only that GPs give patients 'with an acute condition or exacerbation of a chronic condition' a consultation within 24 hours ­ not all patients.

Another key difference is that achievement will be based on patients' dissatisfaction, rather than satisfaction. A sliding scale of the number of complaints about access received by boards will determine payments.

Dr Brian Dunn, GPC Northern Ireland chair, said he had resisted 'unreasonable' demands by the Department of Health, Social Services and Public Safety for 24-hour access for all.

He added: 'I think it is most unlikely practices will get more than 50 complaints [about access].'

The chronic conditions DES requires practices to provide extra COPD and asthma services and additional diabetes care for obese patients.

GPs must offer specialist smoking cessation, training in self-management, referral to community services and work up 'action plans'.

NHS boards will provide spirometers and pulse oximeters and commission physical activity schemes and pulmon-ary rehabilitation.

Dr Dunn said he believed data collection for the chronic conditions DES was 'excessive', but getting the maximum payout was within GPs' reach.

icameron@cmpinformation.com

Northern Ireland DESs for 2006/7

Access £ per practice

Aspiration £5,460

Achievement >10 complaints/ No achievement

500 patients/year pay

>7 but <10 complaints £2,730

>5 but <7 complaints £4,100

<5 complaints £5,465

Total possible £10,925

Long-term conditions

Aspiration 25% or £3,825 for 'average' practice

Achievement 100% rate COPD* £5,460

100% rate asthma £3,280

100% rate BMI >30 £2,185

Total possible £14,750

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