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Tories call for “independent NHS” and say GP pay should be linked to success

20 June 2007

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The Conservative party has advocated an “independent” NHS, made more accountable to patients, and with GPs’ pay linked to the quality and success of treatments.

Commenting on this proposal, Dr Hamish Meldrum, chairman of the British Medical Association’s (BMA) GPs’ Committee said: “GPs’ income is already linked to the success of the treatment they provide and to patient satisfaction through the new contract’s Quality and Outcomes Framework (QOF), which acts as a mechanism for performance related pay.

“The QOF requires practices to carry out patient satisfaction surveys and act on the results. Treatments given to patients are rooted in evidence-based medicine. In addition to QOF, GPs can secure resources for their practices by taking part in nationally agreed enhanced services, which rewards them for achieving high satisfaction ratings from their patients on access.

“We would have to be convinced of the need to extend this process of performance-related pay any further and be assured it was fair and based on sound evidence of benefit to patients.”

Commenting on other proposals, Dr Jonathan Fielden, Chairman of theĀ  Consultants’ Committee, said: “We are concerned at the continued emphasis on a “social market” and enhancement of the purchaser-provider split. Many of these issues will come up for debate amongst our members at next week’s annual conference.”

The BMA will study the Conservative Party proposals in detail before responding fully.