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Contract widens inequality

The quality of care gap between deprived and affluent areas is being exacerbated by the new contract, according to a Scottish study.

Researchers found recording and management of stroke quality indicators increased for all. But nGMS appears to be increasing deprivation differences, with the care for the wealthiest patients in Scotland increasing more than the poorest.

Lead author Dr Colin Simpson, research fellow at the University of Aberdeen and research co-ordinator of the Primary Care Clinical Informatics Research Unit, said: 'The introduction of the new GP contract has been associated with a dramatic rise in the recording of quality indicators. But it appears deprived patients may not have benefited as much as those in affluent areas.

'This maybe due to deprived patients being less willing to seek advice. There is also evidence that patients from deprived areas have reduced consultation time and therefore GPs may have reduced opportunity to record risk factors.'

Analysing data from 310 practices covering 1.8 million patients, Dr Simpson found 'substantial' increases in recording of quality indicators for stroke.

However, the overall absolute increase for affluent patients was 41.0 per cent, whereas for deprived patients it was only 35.7 per cent. The research was published early online in Stroke.

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