Dr Nigel Watson explains how GPs can achieve maximum points in the patient records area of the organisational domain of the new GMS contract
Under the new GMS contract the way primary care is funded will change radically and, using a points system, practices will be paid for delivering quality, through the quality and outcomes framework.
Through the framework, a total of 1050 points is available to practices; for an average practice of 5500 patients, each point will be worth £75 in 2004/5, increasing to £120 in 2005/6. This means that an average practice can earn a maximum of £78 750 through the framework in 2004/5, rising to £126 000 in 2005/6.
The clinical areas can earn a practice a maximum of 550 points if the practice meets the maximum threshold in each clinical indicator. The remaining 500 points are divided up as shown in Box 1 (below).
|Box 1: Non-clinical areas for which points can be earned|
Quality practice payment
Bonus points for access
All practices should be able to earn the 184 maximum points for organisational indicators, as this involves reading the documentation1 and ensuring that the practice has all the relevant policies in place. Under organisational indicators, the section on records and information about patients is worth a maximum of 85 points, or £6375 for the average practice in 2004/5 and £10 200 in 2005/6.
An example practice plan
An imaginary practice completed a detailed description of its policy for each indicator relevant to the practice under the records and information heading (Figure 1).These descriptions were discussed at a meeting of GPs, nurses and practice staff to ensure each indicator adequately represented existing policy. Where this was not the case, new policies were developed and agreed. The practice is now able to present the policy to the primary care organisation as evidence to support its aspiration to achieve the maximum 85 points after the contract comes into effect on 1 April 2004. The practice will later use the plan as proof that the aspiration was achieved.
|Figure 1: Suggested practice policy document on records and information about patients|
|Figure 1 (continued): Suggested practice policy document on records and information about patients|