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GP practices to be assessed against ‘patient experience’ measure in 2020/21

Practices in England are to be assessed against a new ‘patient experience’ measurement, due to be introduced ‘as early as possible’ in 2020/21, under GP contract changes announced yesterday.

The patient-reported metric, originally agreed as part of the five-year contract deal, will provide an ‘as close to real-time as possible’ and ‘transparent measure’ of patient experience, according to the updated contract finalised by the BMA and NHS England yesterday afternoon.

It will be designed and tested in 2020, with all practices using it by no later than April 2021.

While all practices will be required to take part, those in primary care networks will be supported to improve their performance against the measure through a new £150m investment and impact fund.

Performance against the metric will be financially incentivised through £30m per year from the new fund, which is being introduced as part of the network contract DES in 2020/21.

In 2021/22, ‘at least’ £30m of the £150m fund will reward better access to general practice – rising in 2023/24 to at least £100m of the £300m.

The contract said: ‘As agreed in the five-year deal, a new, as close to real time as possible and transparent measure of patient experience will be designed and tested in 2020, for nationwide introduction by no later than 1 April 2021.

‘The details will be agreed as soon as possible between NHS England and NHS Improvement and the BMA.’

GP leaders said it wasn’t clear what the metric would involve in practice, and warned it was possible it could lead to further ‘catastrophic suggestions of work’ by NHS England.

Doncaster LMC chief executive Dr Dean Eggitt told Pulse: ‘We’ve agreed to the funding of something but we haven’t agreed to what that looks like. So we all now need to trust that NHS England and BMA GP Committee executives are going to come out with a suitable solution for us.’

He added; ‘If we had a high-level trust situation that wouldn’t be a problem, but we don’t. What we saw earlier in the new year was catastrophic suggestions of work. How can we now trust that the new level of work that is going to be put our way isn’t going to be equally catastrophic?’