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GP commissioners warned over risk prediction ‘pitfalls’

GP commissioners face an uphill struggle to identify at-risk patients after the Department of Health pulled funding for tools to help predict unplanned hospital admissions, the Nuffield Trust has warned.

In August the DH announced it would no longer fund the use of two risk prediction tools in the NHS – the Patients at Risk of Re-hospitalisation (PARR) tool and the Combined Predictive Model (CPM) – in a bid to open up predictive risk modelling to market forces.

The move has triggered the Nuffield Trust to produce a guide for GP commissioners on predictive risk modelling to ensure GPs can navigate the ‘pitfalls’ of buying in tools from private companies, due to the cancellation of the national ‘proven, cost free models’, that were backed by the DH.

The guide, which warns that the financial squeeze on the NHS will see GP commissioners facing extra pressure to curb unplanned hospital admissions, states: ‘The DH’s decision not to fund a national update to its centrally procured models means that commissioners will need to take a much more active role around risk prediction.’

‘Previously there were standard, proven, cost-free models that were back by the DH. Now, however, commissioners will begin navigating through what may become a highly competitive free market with all the advantages and pitfalls that that entails’