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Gold, incentives and meh

QOF successes for deprived practices

Practices in deprived areas do significantly better in the clinical domains of the QOF than their more affluent counterparts.

The surprising study results, published online by the BMJ, question the case for targeting resources at less affluent practices to aid their quality achievement.

The researchers said financial incentives might be a greater motivator for practices with fewer alternative sources of income.

But they cautioned that the results did not take into account exception reporting and said the true lesson of the study was that high QOF scores did not necessarily mean good clinical care.

Study researcher Dr Gary McLean, research fellow at the department of general practice and primary care, University of Glasgow, said: 'This is just based on points.

'Deprived practices would do worse if you take exceptions into account.'

Dr McLean added: 'You have to look deeper down into individual indicators; you need to know about exceptions.'

He said: 'That's the thing that comes out ­ you can't take the reported points score as quality.'

The study of 60 practices in Ayrshire and Arran in Scotland found incentivised quality was also higher for larger clinical teams and younger GPs.

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