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Scorecard could ‘skew’ practice outcomes

16 November 2011

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Scorecards that are to be introduced “imminently” in general practices across London to measure their “effectiveness” could “skew” outcomes, it is claimed.

Caroline Kerby, Joint-Lead of the NHS Alliance’s Practice Manager Network, told MiP the ‘Balance Scorecards’ will test practices on 40 indicators including key performance management, patient access and patient feedback.

While NHS London is expected to roll out the measure “imminently”, Kerby said other SHAs may choose to develop the scorecards at “different times and in different ways”.

The introduction of the scorecards will result in weekly data extractions, which will be made publicly available.

Kerby told MiP of the importance for general practice staff to get onboard with the new measure.

“It will be difficult for a member of staff to stay part of the internal structure if it is shown that they are not contributing to the external outlook of the practice,” she said.

Yet there are dangers involved with such crude measurement, she warns.

“There is a risk that if a member of staff knows they are not going to be measured on something, they won’t do it,” said Kerby. 

“This could skew the service general practice provides.”

She also told MiP scorecard results may not reflect the “true quality” of a practice’s clinical care as “people can only measure what can be measured”.

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“Another example of overkill. QOF already addresses these areas. Better to spend time and resources improving on what is already in existence” – Dean Thompson, London