GP league tables published

PATIENTS in Suffolk will today be able to check on the performance of their GP in a set of new league tables.Doctors have been measured against a set of criteria including appointment times and chronic disease care, and will receive extra payments for hitting targets in these areas.

PATIENTS in Suffolk will today be able to check on the performance of their GP in a set of new league tables.

Doctors have been measured against a set of criteria including appointment times and chronic disease care, and will receive extra payments for hitting targets in these areas.

It is expected Suffolk's GPs will score highly but the move has been met with caution by some.

Gareth Richards, joint clinical director of the Suffolk East Primary Care Trusts and a freelance GP, said: "GPs don't particularly like being identified in these sorts of league tables, although in Suffolk they certainly have nothing to be ashamed of.

"I think the sorts of markers GPs are being asked to achieve are more relevant to failing practices, most GPs would find it quite easy to hit the targets.

"Having said that, it's quite clear this is all about making GPs accountable to the public and that can only be a good thing.

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"The trouble is, what do people do if their GP does not score well? Will they really register with someone new or will they just be scared every time they visit their GP?"

Mr Richards also expressed concerns about the computer system used to record the targets and said this could be where some GPs slip up.

He said: "The computer system that was used is very sensitive and inputting words in the wrong order, for example, could be the difference between achieving and not achieving a target."

Practices are rewarded for the quality of care they give and not just the number of patients they treat. However, because GP practices have delivered such high quality, initial estimates are that, nationally, it will cost around £200m more than originally planned.

Primary care trusts are responsible for paying the bill but will not receive any additional funding to do so.

The information will be available on the Department of Health website later today.

www.dh.gov.uk

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