28/09/2007

Northern Ireland GP's Come Tops In UK

The standard of services GP's in Northern Ireland provide are the highest in the UK, latest figures reveal.

The Quality and Outcomes Framework (QOF) showed that GP teams in Northern Ireland achieved 97.8% of the maximum points available.

The scoring system was introduced in April 2004 as part of the new national GP contract, offering practices up to 1000 points if they deliver on a range of services.

Many of the points relate to evidence-based clinical interventions proved to benefit patients with illnesses such as asthma, diabetes and other long-term conditions. Points are also dependent on the organisation and to patients' experiences of the practice.

The Chairman of the British Medical Association (BMA) General Practitioners Committee in Northern Ireland said he was delighted with the figures.

Dr Brian Dunn said: "It has already been predicted that thousands of heart related problems, including heart attacks and strokes, will be prevented over the next five years largely because of the Quality and Outcomes Framework.

That's work that will save many thousands of lives, it will prevent the misery of illness and it will save the NHS money."

Mr Dunn added that the results were significantly important for Northern Ireland where one of the highest rates of coronary heart disease exists.

He also voiced his concerns over the delay in implementation of several aspects of the Review of Public Administration (RPA), which was designed to deliver savings for use in improving frontline patient care.

He has urged the Health Minister, Michael McGimpsey, to address the necessary reforms recommended by the RPA.

(LC/SP)

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