Do patients think GPs should be paid for performance?
Press release issued: 8 July 2011
A study exploring patients’ views of pay-for-performance in primary care will be presented today [Friday 8 July] at the Annual Scientific Meeting of the Society for Academic Primary Care hosted by the University of Bristol's Academic Unit of Primary Health Care.
Kerin Hannon, Stephen Campbell and Professor Helen Lester of the University of Manchester asked twenty-six ‘QOF pilot’ practices across England, representative in terms of size and deprivation, to contact patients on a single QOF (Quality and Outcomes Framework) disease register.
Fifty-six patients aged 32- to 90-years (mean age 65) were interviewed from January to March 2011. All had at least one chronic condition that predated QOF. None had heard of QOF and few had noticed changes in their care since 2004. However, the majority of patients were reassured by the use of the computer in their consultation and liked the fact the GP was checking up on health issues unrelated to their presenting complaint. A minority also noted they were now more likely to be called in for a blood test or medication review.
Most patients were surprised to hear their practice was paid money for ‘simple things’ and wondered why GPs were paid bonuses in view of their high salaries or were not paid bonuses for managing more complex issues. Some patients also raised concern over potential unintended consequences of pay-for-performance such as a reduced focus on non-incentivised areas and a lack of consideration of individual differences in treatment.
Kerin Hannon, Research Associate in Manchester’s Health Sciences Research Group, said: “Most patients trusted and liked their GP and did not feel that a pay-for-performance scheme was necessary to ensure quality of care.“
A constant comparative methodology was used to analyse the transcripts. The generalisability of this study is limited by the participants’ age and possible respondent bias.
Further informationPaper: Patients’ views of pay-for-performance in primary care by Kerin Hannon, Stephen Campbell and Professor Helen Lester.
About the conference
The 40th Annual Scientific Meeting of the Society for Academic Primary Care runs from Wednesday 6 July to Friday 8 July. It is the leading academic primary care meeting in the UK. There will be plenary talks from outstanding speakers, parallel presentations on a wide range of topics, workshops, panel sessions and posters. This year’s conference is organised by Professor Chris Salisbury, Professor Debbie Sharp, Professor Alan Montgomery and Dr Sarah Purdy of the University of Bristol.
About the Society for Academic Primary Care
The Society for Academic Primary Care exists to support, promote and develop the discipline of academic primary care, bringing together teachers, researchers and practitioners from a range of disciplinary backgrounds to promote excellence in the development, delivery and evaluation of primary care policy and practice.
The Society's work is underpinned by 3 key principles: promoting excellent teaching, research, and critical reflection on primary care practice and policy; valuing a distinctive primary care approach; recognising the importance of a multidisciplinary membership to achieve our goals.