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More performance concern referrals for GPs over 60

23 September 2009

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GPs aged over 60 are seven times more likely to have their performance questioned than those under 40, according to a report.

Analysing hospital staff and those working in the community revealed that older doctors and consultants were more likely to be questioned than their younger counterparts.

Concern referral rates for those over 50 are five times higher than the rates for under-40s, the National Clinical Assessment Service (NCAS) found.

Referrals are not uncommon, as one in four NHS organisations had concerns referred about at least one employee every year, and 55% have an open case with NCAS at any given time.

The report from NCAS, which is part of the National Patient Safety Agency (NSPA), was the largest study of medical and dental performance concerns in the UK, studying cases from the past eight years.

It found men and non-white consultants who qualified abroad were more likely to be excluded, and rates were “significantly higher among doctors who qualified outside the UK than UK-qualified doctors.”

Dr Peter Old, associate medical director of NCAS, said referral rate differences based on age may be due to skills diminishing over time, or the lack of vocational training for over-60s.

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