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Gold, incentives and meh

Police drug swoops 'putting GPs at risk'

British Hypertension Society guidelines on blood pressure will greatly increase GP workload, a study concludes.

Hitting the stringent targets in the guidance would be cost-effective but GPs would need extra financial incentives to persuade them to go beyond targets set out in the new contract.

Implementing the guidelines would cost approximately £30,000 to prevent a single cardiovascular event ­ much higher than NICE guidance ­ and the extra patient checks and treatment required would be a 'disincentive' to GPs.

The researchers studied the cost-effectiveness of guidelines in a 16-GP practice in North Yorkshire, analysing 2,023 patient health checks and their subsequent treatment.

Under BHS guidelines, over 75 per cent of patients would need reassessment in five years' time and 3 per cent after a year, concluded the study, published in the British Journal of General Practice (October). Under current guidelines, 90 per cent of patients get no treatment or follow-up.

Study author Dr Gerry Richardson, research fellow at the University of York's Centre for Health Economics, said: 'It was a concern that implementing guidelines in general practice would be difficult because of the workload.'

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