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Gold, incentives and meh

GP services face extra scrutiny from local government under DH guidelines

GP practices face an extra layer of scrutiny from local government after new DH guidance said practices had a duty to provide councils with information on performance, waiting times and even non-identifiable patient data to prove they are offering ‘effective and safe’ care.

The guidance said that NHS reforms gave councils extended powers of scrutiny to ensure services were ‘safe and effective’, and for the first time this included GP providers, who were previously not subject to health scrutiny regulations.

As a result, GPs had to ‘cooperate’ with local authorities in their scrutiny function, which could include handing over information on performance, waiting times and even non-identifiable patient data.

But the GPC said that GP services were already heavily scrutinised and it ‘doesn’t make sense to add to that’.

The DH said the guidance provides local authorities with advice about how to ‘strengthen the voice of local people’ and ensure that health services are ‘effective and safe’.

The guidance said that the NHS Act 2006 imposes duties on ‘responsible persons’ to provide local authorities with ‘such information about the planning, provision and operation of health services in the area of the authority as it may reasonably require to discharge its health scrutiny functions’.

However, it added that since the NHS reforms last year, these ‘responsible persons’ now include GP practices, who were ‘previously not subject to specific duties under health scrutiny regulations as independent contractors, they are now subject to duties under the new regulations as they are providers of NHS services’.

As a result, it said: ‘All relevant NHS bodies and health service providers (including GP practices and other primary care providers and any private, independent or third sector providers delivering services under arrangements made by clinical commissioning groups, NHS England or the local authority) have a duty to provide such information.’

This included ‘information about performance against targets or quality standards, waiting times’, ‘patient information such as patient flows, patient satisfaction surveys, numbers and types of complaints and action taken to address them’, and ‘any other information relating to the topic of a health scrutiny review which can reasonably be requested’.

But the GPC warned that this did not make sense.

Chair Dr Chaand Nagpaul said: ‘I think it is worth pointing out that GP services, especially in England, are already heavily scrutinised. We have scrutiny from CQC, NHS England and CCGs and this is already an excessive level of scrutiny. I can’t see any logic in adding to that. We are over-scrutinised and it doesn’t make sense to add to that.’

It comes as last week NAPC chair Dr Charles Alessi suggested councils could hold GP contracts.

Readers' comments (32)

  • I though the whole point of the last NHS upheaval was to reduce over management and put GPs in charge. I have never been so micromanaged in 25 years of doing this increasingly impossible job

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  • These guys are. Often teenagers who use a tick box and fail if answers don't match or they don't know .
    What a mess

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  • Step 1 - no appraisals ;we don't have enough time . Step 2 - no OOH work ; we're too tired .
    Step 3 - no hope / mass resignation .

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  • It's not in our NHS contract to provide this, so if the council does not pay me for providing it they will get a short answer involving the letters N and O.

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  • Er why don`t they just ask the CQC/our appraisers for that data. Why should we collect it again.
    After seeing my drawings for this year, the only reason I have put up with this has been providing for my family. Being on significantly less pay now than I was 10 years ago, in my early 40`s I am also seriously considering getting out.The Dentists didn`t put up with any of this and left at the outset. Thats what this Goverment want, i.e us all to leave, so they can apportion the blame on us. What they forget is that is that when we are gone and no longer care, the voting public will.

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  • Very simple I am 42 and have already started working privately on the side so that I am ready when it all collapses, if I was older I would have retired, any younger emigrated. The future is GET OUT OF THE NHS BY ANY MEANS POSSIBLE

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  • Don't panic guys this is a PLUS !!!
    Just pass on all the problems GP is facing at this time to the new level of scrutineers.
    NO LONGER our problem - it will be theirs.

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  • This kind of stuff will continue until such time as our union the BMA stands up and threatens action.

    Being mild and acceeding to all and sundy simply leads to more bullying.

    So BMA when are you going to stand up for your members?

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  • any younger than 42?! I'm 43 and planning an exit by this time next year, to warmer climes!

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  • 01 July 2014 11:54pm - Request under an FOI.

    As for me, I think its time to quit. This is one too far

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