Revalidation should not test knowledge
The Government is to roll out GP pilots across the country to target health inequalities after a showpiece scheme recorded dramatic reductions in cardiovascular deaths.
The scheme in Sheffield, in which £1 million was ploughed into general practice, sharply narrowed the gap in mortality between rich and poor over the three years from its launch in 2000.
Cardiovascular deaths in the under-75s fell by 14 per cent in Sheffield as a whole but by 25 per cent in the most deprived fifth of the population, researchers revealed at the UK Public Health Forum in Gateshead last week.
The Department of Health told Pulse it regarded the initiative as a model of best practice. It said it planned similar schemes across 88 'spearhead' PCTs as part of a drive to cut inequalities in heart disease and cancer by 2010.
The Sheffield City-Wide Initiative for Reducing Cardiovascular Disease involved 51 general practices in deprived areas of the city. GPs agreed to meet stringent targets in return for extra funding for nursing time, clinics, IT support and specialist input.
Dr Tim Doran, research fellow at the National Primary Care Research and Development Centre in Manchester, said such initiatives remained necessary in the post-contract era. 'Cardiovascular disease is heavily incentivised in the contract, but other areas are not and could lose out.'