Let’s hope the national grid can cope with every practice’s shredder sparking into life simultaneously. Because, unless you’re a rabid PCNorak, that will be the inevitable destination for all 14 pages of the NHSE’s latest version of the Investment and Impact Fund (IIF).
In case you’ve dozed off already, that’s the points-mean-prizes PCN-wide incentive scheme. It’s QOF by another name, and as far as I’m concerned, that name is FUQOF.
Because this is micromanagement on a macropopulation level, and it’s horrible. It’s a complex bureaucratic nightmare of random tick-box imperatives guaranteed to create hassle and dysfunction. Whether it’s admin (targets for numbers of online consultations and appointment waits of less than two weeks), clinical (searching-and-destroying potential hypertensives on the basis of a previous recorded BP of >140/90) or global (something about us saving the planet), the work created and get-rounds required will have you banging your head against a brick wall – which is perhaps where the ‘Impact’ bit comes in.
Except, of course, you won’t. The points accrued are PCN rather than practice-based, which immediately dilutes out any sense of worth, ownership and fairness. And the money, a relatively piddly amount, has to be invested in services or workforce as opposed to being personal reward for job done. It’s not like we don’t have any other distractions – so why would anyone bother other than for reasons of masochism or deliberately trying to create internecine PCN strife?
So let’s just sit down and have chat about something else while I put the kettle on. Provided there’s any electricity.
Dr Tony Copperfield is a GP in Essex. Read more of Copperfield’s blogs at http://www.pulsetoday.co.uk/views/copperfield