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GPs 'interrogated' during QOF visits

By Gareth Iacobucci

GPs are finding themselves under increasing pressure during QOF visits as the Government cranks up the pressure on PCTs to scrutinise practices more closely.

LMCs have raised concerns over what they claim is a heavy-handed and interrogative methods being employed by PCTs, with GPs facing increasing levels of bureaucracy and scrutiny.

Pulse first revealed last year that the Department of Health and NHS Employers were planning to clamp down on high rates of exception reporting. GPs now appear to be feeling the backlash as PCTs take a tougher stance during annual QOF visits.

In a newsletter to its members, South Staffordshire LMC said: ‘Those of us who undergone a recent QOF visit will have noticed that the approach is interrogative compared to the previous advisory and supportive role of the visiting team.

‘Concerns have been raised at the LMC about the process and content of some of these visits.'

And Dr John Grenville, secretary of Derbyshire LMC, said in his area too, visits were becoming ‘increasingly vehement'.

He said: ‘It's no longer high trust. There is a lot more evidence being asked for. Some of the things they're being asked to do don't really make a great deal of sense.'

Dr Grenville said that in recent visits, the trust was asking practice managers to make a list and have photocopies of all GPs' GMC retention certificates, despite the information being available online. He added: ‘PCTs are being performance managed by the SHAs, and they don't trust GPs. We negotiated a low bureaucracy, high cost contract, and GPs were going to be treated as grown up people. But it hasn't happened.'

Dr Richard Vautrey, deputy chair of the GPC, said: ‘We are aware that SHAs are encouraging PCTs to demonstrate that they are getting full value for money from G/PMS contracts. As always some PCTs act in a less than helpful way than others do when putting this in to action.'

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