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GPs ordered to publish 'quality accounts' to justify care

By Nigel Praities

GPs will have to routinely collect outcomes and patient experience data in order to justify the service they provide to commissioners under legislation announced in the Queen's Speech today.

The speech contained details of a new Health Bill due to be put before MPs during this session of parliament and follows on from Lord Darzi's review of the NHS that said all healthcare providers would be required to publish ‘quality accounts' from April 2010.

As part of the Government's choice agenda, these accounts would be made publically available and would be used by commissioners to assess the quality of GP services, including assessing patient safety, experience and outcomes data.

A spokesperson from the Department of Health said: ‘This will allow the public to hold providers to account for the quality of their services.'

The Health Bill also contains legislation that will permit patients to be issued with personal budgets to pay for NHS healthcare services for the first time.

Critics say personal budgets have the potential to destabilise care provision, but the Government says they are important to ensure patients have ‘more control over their health'.

GPs also will have a legal duty to abide by the proposed NHS Constitution under the new Bill. A draft version of the constitution released earlier this year gave patients a legal right to choice over their care and access to NICE-approved treatments.

BMA Chair Dr Hamish Meldrum said the development of a NHS Constitution was welcome but could just be used to further commercialise and fragment care.

‘The government's proposals miss an opportunity to depoliticise the delivery of healthcare. We would like to see a constitution which reduces the role of politicians and gives health professionals, patients and the public a greater say in the day-to-day running of the NHS,' he said.

GPs will have to publish quality accounts, based on QOF outcomes and patient experience, to justify their quality of care GPs will have to publish quality accounts, based on QOF outcomes and patient experience, to justify their quality of care

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