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Prevalence of QOF-recorded depression increases to 10%

by David Swan
31 October 2018

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The number of patients coded as having depression has increased to almost 10%, according to new data from NHS Digital.
In its summary of general practice QOF activity, NHS Digital revealed that depression was the condition that saw the greatest year-on-year increase in QOF-recorded prevalence out of all QOF indicators – rising from 9.1% in 2016/17 to 9.9% in 2017/18.
The increase means depression is now second overall for all QOF conditions, overtaking obesity, which has a prevalence of 9.8%.
Hypertension remains the indicator with the highest overall prevalence at 13.9%.
Osteoporosis saw the biggest change in exception rate, up by 2.2 percentage points to 19.4%.
Cardiovascular disease experienced the biggest fall in exception rate, at 0.9 percentage points, but still remains the indicator group with the highest exception rate at 31.4%.
The number of practices achieving the maximum number of points – 559 – increased to 12.5%, up from 11.9% in 2016/17.
Luan Stewart, practice manager at Adelaide Street Surgery in Blackpool told Management in Practice that at her practice, 20% of the 11,400 patients are on the depression register.
She said that since April 2017, 537 patients at the practice have been seen for depression for the first time.
Ms Stewart said patients with depression are referred to a local service called Supporting Minds, ‘a self-referral service’.
She added: ‘We know that if patients are given their number and actually call them, it means they really do want to get better.
‘Support and help for patients who want to go back to work is available throughout Blackpool.
In our clinic, doctors arrange to see all patients for their depression reviews and call them on the phone if they do not attend, to check that they are OK.’
Research by the UK Council for Psychotherapy published last year found that rates of anxiety and depression among UK employees had increased by 30.5% since records began in 2013.
A version of this story was published on our sister publication Nursing in Practice
Additional reporting by Valeria Fiore