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Yellow card review supports pay for adverse reactions follow-up

GPs should be rewarded for helping with research on adverse drug reactions, according to the Government's review of the yellow card scheme.

A report based on the review stopped short of recommending paying GPs a fee for submitting yellow cards but called for GP payments for helping researchers contact patients who had suffered adverse reactions.

At the report's launch, review steering committee member and retired GP Dr Jane Richards said the steering committee had avoided add-ing to the workload involved with initial yellow card submission 'in case it would stop GPs from reporting'.

She added: 'There is nothing in quality payments that relates to this but the quality payments need looking at because that would help the scheme.'

Another key recommendation was to allow patients to report side-effects themselves, a proposal accepted by health minister Lord Warner.

Dr Jeremy Metters, chair of the review's steering committee, agreed that the yellow card scheme should be included in the quality and outcomes framework but said that GPs had a public duty to fill in the cards.

Dr Metters said GPs would be paid for their involvement in research because 'in almost all cases they will have to go to the patient which would be extra work on hard-pressured GPs'.

He said this would as act as an incentive to report adverse reactions as otherwise GPs might feel they risked increasing their workload.

GPs will not have to inform patients they have submitted a yellow card although the review said it would be 'good practice' to do so.

Dr Peter Fellows, Gloucester GP and current chair of the GPC prescribing sub-committee, said GPs should be paid a fee to 'get the scheme running properly'.

He added: 'The days of GPs working for nothing are gone.'

But he said it would be difficult to fit payment into the quality and outcomes framework as it was not directly connected to patient lists.

The review, which is out for consultation until the end of July, was commissioned in response to demands for greater access to yellow card data.

Yellow card review recommendations

?Introduction of direct patient reporting: patients will be able to report unexpected effects of their medication directly to the MHRA. Pilots will be rolled out immediately.

?Access to yellow card database will be opened up, including regular publication of anonymised aggregated data on the MHRA website.

?Requests for restricted data and data from individual yellow cards should be assessed by an independent scientific committee.

?Reimbursement of expenses should be made to reporters who help in research based on yellow cards with a scale of charges published on the MHRA website.

?Greater clarity needed on 'serious' ADRs alongside a communication strategy to

improve understanding of the scheme.

By Cato Pedder

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