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GPs aim high on quality framework

By Craig Kenny

Practices are

submitting bold predictions for their achievement against the quality and outcomes framework, with many aspiring close to the maximum 1,050 points.

GPs have to submit their aspiration level for 2004/5 to their primary care organisation by the end of this week and a significant number are forecasting at least 800 points.

At least three practices contacted by Pulse reported they will aspire to all 1,050 points.

LMCs have advised GPs to aim as high as possible to maximise their cash-flow. But GPC negotiators have warned practices not to submit unrealistic aspirations.

Practices whose achievement falls short are in line for stringent checks by the NHS counter fraud service, possibly including unannounced visits.

Dr Roger Chapman, a GPC member and GP in Leighton Buzzard, Bedfordshire, said his practice's prediction of 854 points was below average for the area.

'We have tried to achieve a balance between optimising cash-flow but not risking a challenge from the PCT. We don't want that hassle,' he said.

Dr Kamal Sood, chair of Northamptonshire LMC, said his six-partner practice had gone for maximum points.

'I suggest people put in for as many points as they can,' he said. 'We will be going for maximum, but we recognise an aspiration is just that.'

Somerset LMC has advised GPs in the county to aim for at least 800 points. LMC secretary Dr Harry Yoxhall said GPs were now focusing on high quality points rather than large lists to maximise income.

Dr Richard Orpin, a GP in Worthing, West Sussex, said the practice had only identified about 500 points so far but was going to aim higher. 'The biggest problem is getting the existing partners, including me, to change their ways and become computer literate,' he said.

Dr John Grenville, secretary of Derbyshire LMC, said: 'If you're achieving 500 quality points now and say you're going for 600 to 750, I think the PCO will go with that.'

lFraud checks, page 12

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