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A tailored quality framework developed by two GPs is being hailed as a financial lifeline for practices treating high numbers of students.

The alternative framework replaces stroke and COPD indicators with markers for sexual and mental health, depression, sports injuries and administrative services.

The GPs at Imperial College and Kings College in London drew up the framework after Westminster PCT agreed action was needed to ensure the survival of student health services.

University practices have suffered under the new contract because they have few patients with chronic diseases and cannot earn as much.

Westminster PCT said it wants to implement the framework at the two practices from April.

But doubt remains over whether it will be able to do so because one has a GMS contract. Under existing regulations, only PMS practices are able to amend the quality framework.

Dr Irene Weinreb, a GP at Imperial College student health centre and author of the alternative framework, said she was confident the proposal would go through by April 1, even though the practice is on a GMS contract.

She said: 'There's no point hanging around otherwise we'll be in trouble next year. We're a good practice medically yet we won't get paid for it.'

Dr Derek Chase, a GP at King's College's PMS health centre, said his practice would score 'very low' on the traditional quality framework this year: 'There were about 300 points that weren't relevant.'

GPC negotiators said GMS practices could not opt into or out of parts of the framework but would have to agree a deal whereby a PCT would add on their own markers and invest more money to pay GPs.

Dr Mary Church, GPC negotiator, said there was 'no accommodation' to change the framework for GMS practices.

But she said she approved of the principle behind the scheme and would look at the evidence as part of the review of the framework.

Information on the alternative framework has been sent to other university practices.


·Sports injuries

·Sexual health

·Depression and other mental health

·Other administration indicators

By Rob Finch

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