Practices face new performance pressure from Coffey

Source: Practice Index

The new Health Secretary may seek to use performance statistics to reduce waiting times in general practice, it has been reported.

Dr Therese Coffey, a scientist with a reputation for data analysis, said she had been studying variations in general practice performance. The move could put her in conflict with GPs who last year threatened industrial action over proposals to publish league tables of practice performance. The Royal College of GPs yesterday said staffing was the key problem for general practice.

Chair Professor Martin Marshall said: “We look forward to working with her and her team to ensure we have a robust general practice service that is able to provide high quality care for patients, which supports staff and can continue to keep the NHS sustainable. This must be a top priority for the new Health Secretary given that she has made it clear that she is serious about ensuring the NHS remains able to deliver good, timely, safe and appropriate care and services to patients now and in the future. Recent reports have shown that patient satisfaction in the NHS, notably in general practice, is falling, largely down to access. This is not through lack of trying on the part of GPs and our teams. We are carrying out more consultations every month than before the pandemic and the care we are delivering is becoming more complex, but numbers of fully qualified, full-time GPs are falling.”

Speaking to the BBC yesterday, Dr Coffey said some practices were “absolutely fantastic” and she would want to find ways to help others improve. The Times reports she has asked for details on “unwarranted variation”. She told the BBC: “I think one of the things that it can do is set clear expectations. This isn’t about blame. This is about how we can make sure we work together to fix the system so that patients come first.”


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