Update on GP Petition

As you may know, I launched a petition a few weeks ago regarding a scheme in which GP’s are rewarded for diagnosing certain conditions over others. It’s an unethical, immoral and unsafe practice – encouraging doctors financially to diagnose one condition over another can only lead to misdiagnosis, ill health and potential deaths. Most people aren’t even aware of this system.

(If you haven’t seen it already, then please read and sign the petition if you are in the UK, and share it widely. Thank you in advance for your support.)

I put a Freedom of Information request to the government which stated ““Under the Freedom of Information Act, I would like you to provide me with information on any and all schemes which financially reward any medical staff/departments/GP practices for testing, diagnosing or treating certain conditions, and any and all schemes which fine any medical staff/departments/GP practices for testing, diagnosing or treating any conditions.”

I have now received a reply, this is it:

Dear Ms Milligan,  

Thank you for your request of 20th December 2015 under the Freedom of Information Act (2000).  I can confirm that the Department holds some information relevant to your request.  However, as the information held by the Department is in the public domain, we will under Section 21 of the FOI Act (information accessible to the applicant by other means) refer you to the published source.    

The Quality and Outcomes Framework (QOF) is a voluntary incentive scheme for GP practices in the UK. The QOF rewards contractors for the provision of quality care and helps to standardise improvements in the delivery of primary medical services.   The QOF contains groups of indicators, against which practices score points according to their level of achievement. Practices aim to deliver high quality care across a range of areas, for which they score points. The higher the score, the higher the financial reward for the practice. The final payment is adjusted to take account of the practice list size and disease prevalence. The results are published annually and the indicators are reviewed, with some being retired and new ones added.   Details of the indicators and the performance of participating practices can be found on the Health and Social Care Information Centre’s website at http://www.hscic.gov.uk/qof.    

You may also wish to contact NHS England, who may hold information relevant to your request.  Details on how to request information from NHS England under the Freedom of Information Act (2000) is available at:  
http://www.england.nhs.uk/contact-us/foi.

I will be sending a request direct to NHS England also, with the same request for information, I will let you know what their response is.

I find it so wrong that the very people who spend so many years training to save lives, would wish to be part of a scheme which is so dangerous. The claim is that this scheme will enourage GPs to better treat their patients and improve overall health but how can this be so? If a patient comes in with ten symptoms and is immediately judged by the fact they look overweight, how can that help them? They could have any one of a million medical conditions, but the immediate diagnosis is ‘overweight’. Which conveniently nets the GP £160. I myself was diagnosed as overweight, diabetic and depressed – a nice payment of £480 to the GPs – and I am not any of those things, I actually have an entirely unconnected medical condition! And I know of many other people who have been misdiagnosed in the same way.

This system is seriously flawed, and leaves patients at risk of health complications, further illness or injury, or death.

So please sign this petition, and share it on all your social networks, email to your colleagues, friends and family. Let’s get this system reviewed and overhauled – let’s make sure that if there has to be an incentive for GP’s to treat us, that the incentive is to make us well, and not for their own financial gain.

Please read and sign the petition here.

Thank you.

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