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Four in 10 GPs shun DES for patient participation

Almost half of GP practices are shunning the new patient participation DES this year, but most have agreed to take on the new QOF prescribing indicators, a Pulse survey shows.

The snapshot poll of 110 practices shows just 59% expect to sign up to the £60m patient participation DES. Those taking part are planning innovative forms of patient engagement, including using the social networking website Facebook to engage with patients – but many GPs have doubts over the value of the new DES and concerns over workload.

Dr Kamal Sidhu, a GP in Peterlee, County Durham, said: ‘Binding [the DES] to a massive amount of paperwork to be produced around the process makes it cumbersome and takes the attraction out of it.'

The survey also showed that GPs are signing up en masse for the new QOF quality and productivity indicators, with 85% intending to participate in the new prescribing indicator, QP1.

Just 5% of GPs said they had no plans to work towards achieving the indicator. But GPs seeking to press ahead with the prescribing indicators are being hamstrung in some cases by PCTs' failure to provide information in time, with 17% of GPs saying they would not meet the 30 June deadline to agree changes.