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GP services face extra scrutiny from local government under DH guidelines

GP practices face an extra layer of scrutiny from local government after new DH guidance said practices had a duty to provide councils with information on performance, waiting times and even non-identifiable patient data to prove they are offering ‘effective and safe’ care.

The guidance said that NHS reforms gave councils extended powers of scrutiny to ensure services were ‘safe and effective’, and for the first time this included GP providers, who were previously not subject to health scrutiny regulations.

As a result, GPs had to ‘cooperate’ with local authorities in their scrutiny function, which could include handing over information on performance, waiting times and even non-identifiable patient data.

But the GPC said that GP services were already heavily scrutinised and it ‘doesn’t make sense to add to that’.

The DH said the guidance provides local authorities with advice about how to ‘strengthen the voice of local people’ and ensure that health services are ‘effective and safe’.

The guidance said that the NHS Act 2006 imposes duties on ‘responsible persons’ to provide local authorities with ‘such information about the planning, provision and operation of health services in the area of the authority as it may reasonably require to discharge its health scrutiny functions’.

However, it added that since the NHS reforms last year, these ‘responsible persons’ now include GP practices, who were ‘previously not subject to specific duties under health scrutiny regulations as independent contractors, they are now subject to duties under the new regulations as they are providers of NHS services’.

As a result, it said: ‘All relevant NHS bodies and health service providers (including GP practices and other primary care providers and any private, independent or third sector providers delivering services under arrangements made by clinical commissioning groups, NHS England or the local authority) have a duty to provide such information.’

This included ‘information about performance against targets or quality standards, waiting times’, ‘patient information such as patient flows, patient satisfaction surveys, numbers and types of complaints and action taken to address them’, and ‘any other information relating to the topic of a health scrutiny review which can reasonably be requested’.

But the GPC warned that this did not make sense.

Chair Dr Chaand Nagpaul said: ‘I think it is worth pointing out that GP services, especially in England, are already heavily scrutinised. We have scrutiny from CQC, NHS England and CCGs and this is already an excessive level of scrutiny. I can’t see any logic in adding to that. We are over-scrutinised and it doesn’t make sense to add to that.’

It comes as last week NAPC chair Dr Charles Alessi suggested councils could hold GP contracts.

Readers' comments (32)

  • Oh for God's sake, when does the all-out attack on general practice ever come to an end?
    And the GPC is the worst trade union in the history of the world.

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  • And what are the sanctions for not complying?

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  • How long before any two of these scrutineers come up with directly contradictory requirements and some poor practice is stuck in the middle? Or all their requirements match exactly, in which case what on earth is the point?

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  • Good idea!

    If they managed to put this in the contract, primary care can continue without me - I'm not even 40 yet but I'm not prepared to work in this environment. Some one else can have a go in my seat.

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  • FFFFFFFFFFFF@@@@@@CCCCKKKKKK OFFFFF

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  • left ribs - right ribs - left ribs -right ribs- left ribs - right ribs

    uppercut

    haymaker

    GP out for the count

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  • Does that mean the council have a duty to pay all the invoices for this work?

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  • a mass walkout is the only option to stop this madness.

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  • My bin didn't get emptied this morning. Could I please have access to all the local council refuse collection data so I can police their activities? After all, I am a GP. It's probably my fault the waste collection service missed it. Is it their fault if i miss a cancer diagnosis? Will someone please stop this madness?!!!

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  • Very Simple - I say no to any pointless and unfunded work.

    If no GP co-operates and does this or any similar politically driven nonsense - what can the politicians do???

    Nada! They only hold power or sway if there is a majority who blindly do as they are asked.

    If you don't co-operate eventually even the politicians listen - POLL TAX, so far Care.pointless waste of time.

    Please stop agreeing to all the Cr@p and it will stop.

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