Following the breakdown of talks between the British Medical Association (MBA) and the Department of Health, plans have been unveiled which will mean that GPs will be rewarded for helping patients control blood pressure and cholesterol and spotting long-term conditions, rather than for ‘box ticking’ exercises.
One such initiative will involve every GP compiling a list of patients who may be at risk of dementia, such as those over 65 with heart disease or neurological conditions. They will then be expected to offer them a memory test and their financial reward could depend on whether the patients decide to take it.
The current GP contract, which came into effect in 2004, enabled family doctors to opt out of evening and weekend work, while new rules on bonuses pushed the average GP’s income over £100,000.
The Quality and Outcomes Framework (QOF) is now set to change, with some activities such as administrative work no longer rewarded, while the bar for payments will be raised elsewhere, including for the numbers of patients monitored and levels of treatment achieved for conditions such as diabetes.
The changes are expected to result in cuts to GP pay, which currently averages £104,000 a year.
However, the British Medical Association says the changes could be ‘deeply damaging’ to patients and will be an enormous strain at a time when wholesale NHS reorganisation is due to start.
NHS doctors are already in dispute with the Government over plans to change pensions and this summer staged their first strike in 40 years. However, that protest was highly unpopular with the public and the BMA is disinclined to repeat it, however it has said that it will “closely analyse” the details of the proposals.
As an accountant; David Jacobs offers a range of accounting, audit and taxation advice to the legal and medical professions.