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Stroke care pay anomaly

GPs may be missing out on payments for high-quality stroke care because the Read code system for the disease is a confusing mess, researchers say.

A new study found the achievement of QOF points was not related to gold standard quality of care. Instead, high achievement was related to use of Read codes that were compatible with the QOF.

Study leader Dr Simon de Lusignan, senior lecturer in primary care informatics at St George's, London, said the number of Read codes needed to be streamlined to avoid confusion among GPs.

Dr de Lusignan, a GP in Guildford, Surrey, said: 'There are too many codes for stroke and TIA which sit outside the QOF. So high QOF points mean good GP care – but it's not necessarily [poor] stroke care if QOF points are lacking.'

His study, in the latest edition of Informatics in Primary Care, analysed stroke care in two practices, in Surrey and southwest London. One got 93.5 per cent of available QOF points and the other 73.4, but the latter had 'much better' adherence to RCP guidelines.

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