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A faulty production line

GPs set to maintain register of autism patients under QOF proposals

NICE is recommending a new QOF indicator for GPs to create and maintain a register of all autism patients, under proposals published today.

The recommendation, which NICE has set out in a series of proposals for the QOF ‘or other incentive schemes’, has been brought in to help surgeries improve care and will build on previously published guidance encouraging tailored care for patients on the autism spectrum, the proposals say. 

The proposed indicator states 'the practice established and maintains a register of all patients with a diagnosis of autism', but no extra information is provided.

NICE suggests that patients will be easily identifiable within practices and staff will be able to make adjustments to suit their patients, such as light dimming for those with sensory problems or appointments at quieter times during the day.

It adds that patients' data will be anonymous outside the surgery and will be used to review long-term care and health outcomes, including ease of access to wider care services and any evidence of unequal access.

The proposals stem from a 2016 report by the Westminster Commission on Autism and National Children’s Group - titled ‘A Spectrum of Obstacles: An Inquiry into Access to Healthcare for Autistic People’ - which recommended ‘an anonymous national primary care register for autism should be created based on a single code in GP records.’

The commission claimed that over 94% of people with autism supported the proposal.

Emily Christou, national strategy coordinator, Westminster Commission on Autism and National Children’s Group said: 'One of the most compelling strands of evidence found in our recent healthcare inquiry, was the critical need for an indicator for autism.

'Without this, GP surgeries cannot be expected to make reasonable adjustments for patients with autism and patients will continue to feel that their healthcare needs are going unmet. We warmly welcome this most important NICE indicator.'

Dr Andrew Black, a GP at Mortimer Medical Practice and deputy chair of the indicator advisory committee, said: 'GPs play a vital role in helping vulnerable people to get the correct diagnosis and the support they need. This new NICE indicator will help them to achieve that.

'We know some people may feel being on a register means a label will be placed upon them, and this makes them uncomfortable.

'It is important that we reassure that their medical notes are confidential and any national data will be anonymised.'

Readers' comments (5)

  • David Banner

    QOF is, it's staying.....hang on, yes it's, staying....ah, it IS going.......but wait, NICE are dreaming up MORE pointless box ticking, so it's it?
    All clear? No, me neither mate. Thank God our leaders have managed to sort this mess out.................

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  • Always wanted to ask what the designation "high-functioning autism" is. Is it just to make parents feel better, thinking that compared to the REAL dev delayed their kid is pretty hot. Whereas in actual fact compared to normal kids their kid is pretty far behind. Also is every child on the autistic spectrum these days ?

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  • Cobblers

    How about paying the GP a larger amount per patient to look after his patients and then leave the registers to them?

    No special interest groups greasing the powers that be to get them to 'incentivise' the GP.

    If a thing is worth doing it will not require money it will be self sustaining. That money is needed suggests that it is sh1t.

    Unusually I will post this twice on two different Pulse threads because it is apposite.

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  • Cobblers

    Oh and despite what Dr Nabi says QOF should be dead. I agree that a super QOF may be on the horizon and think it unlikely that the QOF money will all subsume into the Global sum.

    But GP is on its last legs. Bring it on. Out of the melee shoud come sense or do I live in cloud cuckoo land?

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  • Cloud cuckoo land mate...,,but good effort for the positive dreamer outlook🕺🏼

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