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Funding formula penalises GPs in Scotland and Wales

GPs in Scotland and Wales are losing out in payments through the quality framework because of the way the funding formula is calculated.

Funding for diabetes and heart disease fails to properly account for the extra workload in areas of high prevalence, an analysis concludes.

A comparison of data between the four UK countries found prevalence varied by up to 28% – but that this was not reflected in resource distribution.

The analysis of all 10,065 UK practices concluded this 'penalises practices in the high prevalence countries, Wales and Scotland'.

Study leader Dr Gary Mclean, research fellow at the University of Glasgow, warned the inequalities could mean, over time, patients suffering. 'It might affect the quality of care they receive if the practice they go to receives less resources,' he said.

Although Scotland is penalised under the contract, care actually appeared to be better than in England, while in Wales it was substantially worse.

For instance, Scottish practices had an average 2.7% higher score for diabetic retinal screening than England, whereas Welsh practices scored 2.9% less.Dr McLean also noted clinical quality in Northern Ireland was strikingly higher, which 'may reflect greater population or health services stability'.

The study was published online by the BMC Health Services Research journal.

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