Notes to editors
- For further information or interviews, please contact The King’s Fund press and public affairs office on 020 7307 2585, 020 7307 2632 or 020 7307 2581. An ISDN line is available for interviews on 020 7637 0185. Embargoed copies of The King’s Fund’s background paper on the quality of general practice are available on request.
- The inquiry will be overseen by an expert panel consisting of: Dr Michael Dixon, Chair, NHS Alliance; Professor Steve Field, Chairman of the Royal College of General Practitioners; Ursula Gallagher, Director of Quality, Clinical Governance and Clinical Practice, Ealing PCT; Professor Martin Roland, Professor of Health Services Research, University of Cambridge; and Dr Rebecca Rosen, Senior Fellow, The Nuffield Trust. The King’s Fund’s Senior Fellow, Dr Nick Goodwin, will be the Inquiry’s project director. The inquiry will provide regular updates of its progress on The King’s Fund’s website – please visit www.kingsfund.org.uk/gpinquiry to sign up for updates.
- For example, studies have found: only 60 per cent concurrence exists between specialists and GPs on ‘reasons for care’ within mental health (Broomfield et al 2001); adherence to cancer referral guidelines varied from 63 per cent to 80 per cent for non-urgent referrals (Khawaja and Allan 2001); and there were concerns over the accuracy of referrals for presumed stroke (McNeill 2008). The full references for these studies are available in the background paper.
- A recent study in the International Journal for Equity in Health showed that patients in Scotland at higher risk of coronary heart disease tended to be linked to practices with lower quality GP services and lower prescribing rates. The reference is: McLean G (2008). ‘Practice characteristics and prescribing of cardiovascular drugs in areas with higher risk of CHD in Scotland: cross-sectional study’. International Journal for Equity in Health, vol 7, p18.
- General practice is coming under the spotlight from a number of directions, including government-led initiatives to regulate and improve care quality through the revalidation of GPs, while all general practices will be required to register with the Care Quality Commission by 2011. A new national GP Patient Survey should also highlight what patients feel about the quality of care they receive. NICE is currently overseeing a review of the cost-effectiveness of existing QOF indicators as well as developing and piloting new QOF indicators in general practice. In addition, through the Department of Health’s World Class Commissioning initiative, primary care trusts are being encouraged to use key markers of quality on which to select, monitor and pay for best care in developing primary and community-based services. As general practice enters a more competitive environment, focusing on quality of care will be increasingly important in securing local contracts.
- The King’s Fund is a charity that seeks to understand how the health system in England can be improved. Using that insight, we help to shape policy, transform services and bring about behaviour change. Our work includes research, analysis, leadership development and service improvement. We also offer a wide range of resources to help everyone working in health to share knowledge, learning and ideas.