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NHS GPs lead way on incentives

5 November 2009

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NHS GPs lead the way in terms of receiving extra financial incentives, according to a new survey.

The poll of more than 10,000 primary care doctors from 11 developed countries (including a sample of 1,062 doctors working in the UK), conducted by US think tank the Commonwealth Fund and published in Health Affairs, found that 89% of British respondents reported receiving or having the potential to receive extra financial support.

Reasons for gaining extra financial support included achieving targets (84%), managing patients with chronic disease (82%) and patient satisfaction (49%).

New Zealand was next on the list with a figure of 80% overall, while at the other end of the spectrum only 10% of Swedish doctors reported the presence of incentives.

The report revealed the majority of practices have after-hours arrangements, with 89% of UK GPs reporting these were in place in some form. It was the joint second-highest figure in the study, behind Holland.

More than one in five NHS doctors (22%) said patients often had a long wait to see a specialist, although this was the lowest proportion of the countries polled.

The authors said although it was difficult to generalise across the UK, the practices that responded “stand out throughout the survey for information capacity, a systemic approach to chronic care and incentives to support improved performance”, adding that recent studies indicated that NHS reforms had “improved outcomes”.

Copyright © Press Association 2009

The Commonwealth Fund

Related article: NHS chronic care of “world leading” standard – survey