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At the heart of general practice since 1960

Quality payments 'could destroy general practice'

The quality and outcomes framework could lead to 'the death of general practice as we know it', a leading Government-funded primary care academic claims.

Professor Martin Marshall said there was a serious risk the framework could destroy continuity of care and the doctor-patient relationship.

'These patient-centred values are regarded as the greatest strength of British general practice,' he said. 'It would be a tragedy if, in an attempt to improve health outcomes, this baby is thrown out with the bathwater.'

Professor Marshall, director of the National Primary Care Research and Development Centre at the University of Manchester, said the fact GPs would get large rewards for clinical services but little for the 'softer side' of their work could have a negative effect.

GPs had to 'not get preoccupied by these financial incentives,' he told Pulse. 'I hope they remember those core values of being a GP and don't ignore the softer services.'

The possibility of gaming, fraud, misrepresentation of

data and too much short-term focus were dangers, he added.

GPC negotiator Dr Peter Holden said GPs were 'not saints' and would respond to financial reward. 'The softer side went out of the window when workload became impossible.'

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