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Data Does Not Add Up...

22 November 2014, Bournemouth Echo

I am sure your readers would have felt concerned about the quality of general practice in Dorset having read your online article entitled ‘18 GP surgeries at “high risk” of offering inadequate care’.

Your report demonstrates the limitation of the data published by the Care Quality Commission and also how easy it is for this data to be used in a way that does not reflect the reality of the situation.

Yesterday the Care Quality Commission (CQC) published a report for each of the 8,000 GP Practices in England. CQC have used available data and published a set of 38 indicators for each practice. For each indicator a practice is graded at being better than average, average or worse than average.

One of the practices you have identified as ‘failing’ has 37 of the 38 indicators as average or above average, the only one in which they are an worse than average is the percentage of Ibuprofen and Naproxen they prescribe as a percentage of all non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs. (In statistical terms 50% of all practices will be worse than the median value, irrespective of how good they all are).

By any fair and reasonable measure, this does not mean that this practice is ‘failing’. In fact, it is an excellent practice that is well organised and has a team of dedicated and caring GPs, any of whom I would be very happy to have as my own GP.

Other practices nationally are deemed to be failing because of the very low rate of diagnosis of cancer, heart disease and chronic obstructive respiratory disease.

But when you look at the practices, they are University Practices and the vast majority of their patients are aged 30 or less. You would not expect to have many patients in these groups so you could hardly say they are a failing practice.

I can reassure your readers that the quality of general practice in Dorset is very high and well above average.

As GPs we are not perfect, we are only human. Over a million people will see their GP today (that is about 340,000,000 patients seen in general practice every year – an increase from 240,000,000 in 2004).

Practices are under significant pressure in terms of workload.

Please help us to help you – work with your GP and practice and if you are not happy with the standard of care you are receiving, discuss it with your practice.

DR NIGEL WATSON,

GP and chief executive,

Wessex Local Medical Committees

To read the full article please clcik here: Data Does Not Add Up

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Updated on 16 February 2017 1575 views