NHS London’s medical director has given details of a GP scorecard scheme which is expected to become a template for a national government drive to increase the transparency of general practice.
However, Dr Andy Mitchell also emphasised that the scheme was designed to meet needs specific to London.
Speaking this afternoon at a fringe session at the NHS Confederation conference in Manchester, he said the GP Outcomes Framework, which is expected to launch later this year, will be a “shop window” for each GP practice in the capital.
The site would offer practice-level information on a set of pan-London outcome standards, presented with “user-friendly interpretations” explaining what each score means.
It will also give patients the opportunity to network and communicate with each other. “We will move gradually towards tools which will enable patients to conduct their own healthcare transactions”.
The scheme although “very much in its early stages”, is being watched with interest in Whitehall. Tomorrow the Cabinet Office Minister Francis Maude is expected to announce a new range of transparency measures for the NHS, including making general practice performance data more available nationally along similar lines to what is being drawn up in London.
Mr Mitchell said the scheme was “fundamentally important” as it would better enable patients to make choices about their care.
But, he emphasised that the scheme was brought in to address issues specific to the region, including “huge” variations in the quality of primary care, high rates of patient turnover, and inconsistent recording of general practice performance.
Mr Mitchell added that the scheme was drawn up in collaboration with Local Medical Committees and added that without the support of GPs: “I don’t think we would have achieved anything”.
In the same session, University Hospitals of Birmingham NHS Foundation Trust chief executive Julie Moore said her trust had cut mortality rates by 20 per cent by collecting and data on antibiotics and closely scrutinising failures to administer prescribed doses.
Foundation for Informed Decision Making director of global initiatives Dr Angela Coulter said the government’s delayed information strategy, now expected in the autumn, was “desperately needed”.