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NHS to stop publishing practice list sizes

The NHS could end the publication of data showing how many patients are registered with each practice as part of a drive to simplify and reduce the amount of data put out by its information centre.

The Health and Social Care Information Centre has said it intends to scrap this data, which is currently released on a quarterly basis, over the next three years.

The proposal is subject to a consultation, which said: ’We will stop this quarterly publication. Some information will continue to be available at national level via Quality Outcomes Framework (QOF) Recorded Dementia Diagnoses.’

The HSCIC said the proposals, which will see some data publications scrapped altogether while others will become less frequent or come with less commentary, come as its core funding is being cut by 30% by 2019/20.

In its consultation, the HSCIC said this meant it ’must better prioritise our current services while maintaining our statutory obligations and producing high quality products and services at a lower cost’.

It added: ’It is inevitable given the scale of the challenge that we will have to do some things differently, stop some statistical work or scale back where products are not adding the maximum value for money.’

A HSCIC spokesperson told Pulse: ’The proposal to stop this report is part of a consultation on all reports produced by the HSCIC. There is no definite outcome at this stage, stopping the report or changing its frequency are options that will depend on the reactions received from users via the consultation.

’There are some details relating to this report that are published by a number of different teams and an annual figure for patients per practice may be one of them so it will still be available if that report is unaffected by the consultation.’

Readers' comments (14)

  • Really, at this stage, who gives a toss?

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  • I haven't read the full consultation yet - but list size has to be gathered quarterly for payment purposes.
    How much will not publishing this particular datastream svae HSCIC?
    And cost users of the data?
    Thanks, Pulse, for drawing attention to this Consultation...

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  • There must be some spin reason to why this is being done? Perhaps they do not want people to know how many patients are on gps lists?

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  • George Murgatroyd

    This information is really pivotal to being able to provide robust analysis on patient demographics, profiles and outcomes. I'm sure the consultation will flesh this out. It'd be good to understand the rationale for this: reducing costs, or some other reason.

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  • Another example of how central data collection is being cut and making resource and manpower planning difficult. How can you plan a service with no up to date data on capacity and demand. AS GPs we do it routinely to plan to cover holiday and illness and rising patient demand. We know what's going on, NHSE cannot have a clue.

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  • Azeem Majeed

    The data on practice list size (including variables such as patient age and postcode) is essential for paying GPs. I can't see how it would be possible to stop publishing this data. The cost to the HSCIC of putting a spreadsheet of practice list sizes online must be minimal.

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  • My immediate thoughts are that its either

    to further obfuscate national figures about population needs and amount spent per patient in different practices/preferentially starve some practices.( note- other comparators have also been fudged eg dumbing down of census, NI numbers, immigrants (legal and illegal)

    or to aid the privatisation process.

    Am damn sure they will keep the figures themselves and keep them secret for nefarious reasons

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  • Just make a diary note to submit an FoI request every quarter.

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  • HSCIC is a dry dry organisation. Data junkies.

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  • Couldn't possibly to do with patients being put off of joining a practice with 200,000 patients where they might expect 'cattle market' medical care...................

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