Intelligent Monitoring - a letter sent to the Bournemouth Echo
Date sent: Thursday 20 November 2014
Email sent by Wessex LMCs, on Thursday, 20 Nov 2014
This is the article that my letter refers to.
I am sure your readers would have felt concerned about the quality of general practice in Dorset having read your 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 % of Ibuprofen and Naproxen they prescribe as a % of all non steroidal anti inflammatory drugs. (In statistical terms of course, 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.
The patient satisfaction surveys repeatedly show a very high level of satisfaction with general practice. In today’s society we are quick to complain and slow to praise – if you are happy with the quality of care you receive from your practice, tell them. It has such a positive impact on the practice team who are responsible for delivering your care.
Albert Einstein said “Not everything that can be counted counts, and not everything that counts can be counted.”
Dr Nigel Watson
Churchill House, 122-124 Hursley Rd
Chandler's Ford, Eastleigh
Hants. SO53 1JB (Registered Office)