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GPC negotiates end to patient survey pay link

By Gareth Iacobucci

Exclusive: The controversial GP patient survey will no longer be used to determine GP pay from this April, after the Government agreed to drop QOF indicators relating to 48 hour access and advanced appointment booking, GPC negotiators have revealed.

The move, due to be formally announced when this year's contract negotiations conclude shortly, follows the Government's decision last year to axe its performance management of GP access as part of its slashing of NHS targets.

But while it will no longer be used in the QOF, the DH has decided to continue to run the patient survey, using it instead to hold the new NHS Commissioning Board to account for its delivery of outcomes through the new NHS Outcomes Framework.

The Department of Health has extended its contract with IPSOS Mori to run the patient survey until at least April 2012, with the 2011/12 survey to incorporate additional questions looking at new areas covered by the outcomes framework, such as ‘health-related quality of life for carers'.

Although the survey has survived, practices across the UK which have lost millions of pounds through the survey despite high overall satisfaction rates - due to their performance against the PE7 and PE8 QOF indicators – are likely to welcome the news.

GPC deputy chair Dr Richard Vautrey told Pulse: ‘The direct links between QOF and the survey will be removed for next year.'

But he added: ‘We've had major concerns since the survey was created about how useful it was for the payment arrangements for practices. I would imagine we would still have concerns if it was used for payment arrangements for consortia.'

‘I'm not convinced it's good value for money. It depends what questions they ask and how it was conducted.'

A DH spokesperson said the redeveloped survey would be continuing in order to support the outcomes framework.

She said: ‘The GP Patient Survey will continue for a further year in 2011/12 to support the commitments made in the NHS Outcomes Framework. The Department is working with Ipsos MORI to deliver the survey from July 2011.'

Patient survey