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PCTs hand out 'red ratings' to practices

By Nigel Praities

Most practices are failing at least one element of their official PCT assessments and significant numbers may be threatened with loss of their contracts, Pulse can reveal.

Two trusts have now pushed ahead with national plans to publish balanced scorecards online for all local practices, including a wide range of traffic-light ratings.

They are now preparing possible ‘breach of contract' notices for those who have received a red rating on one or more services.

In NHS East and North Hertfordshire, out of 61 practices 90% had a red rating, including a third for patient satisfaction with telephone booking, a third for getting an appointment in two days and a quarter for getting an appointment in two days.

The worst-scoring indicator was for practices with a Stop Smoking service, with all but one of 18 practices getting a red rating for four-week quit rates.

A PCT spokesperson said it expected practices to meet the standards and would work with all those scoring a red rating: 'It will be one of the key performance indicators for the PCT in assessing whether to withdraw services from a practice or issue any breach of contract notices.'

In Harrow, 61% of 38 practices had at least one red rating, with a fifth scoring a red rating for patient satisfaction with telephone access, 11% for opening hours and 11% for QOF scores. The highest number of red ratings was for flu vaccination, at 29%.

Earlier this month Pulse revealed more than four PCTs in five were developing scorecards and consultancy firm McKinsey was helping develop a national system.

Dr Peter Graves, chief executive of Bedfordshire and Hertfordshire LMC, said GPs in his area were very concerned about the development.

‘The information that's given is so bland, so statistically inaccurate, and so difficult to digest. We're really concerned patients are going to see three or four reds and think this must be an awful practice.'

Most practices failing at least one element of official PCT assessments

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