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Data sharing cuts prescribing

A group of GPs has cut costly antidepressant prescribing by a third after its PCT reformed the way it shared financial information with clinicians.

A group of GPs has cut costly antidepressant prescribing by a third after its PCT reformed the way it shared financial information with clinicians.

The case has been cited by the Audit Commission as a good example of a productive relationship between finance departments and clinicians.

Norfolk PCT introduced ‘programme budgeting', which analyses spending in 23 disease areas, benchmarked against national averages, rather than general headings such as by acute provider, community services or prescribing.

Instead of imposing on GPs a target to make a cost saving, the PCT shared, via a clinician, evidence that mental health spending was above average, and encouraged them to meet a goal to improve care through alternative interventions. Prescribing was cut as a result.

The report, A Prescription for Partnership, says it is ‘critical that finance departments rise to the challenge of providing timely, sufficiently detailed information to gain the support of clinical colleagues'.

Prescription

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