An innovative new scheme developed jointly between Somerset CCG, Somerset LMC, local GP practices and NHS England is aiming to improve primary care services for patients across Somerset.
GP practices are being given the opportunity to either trial the new locally designed Somerset Quality Practice Scheme (SQPS) or continue with the existing national Quality and Outcomes Framework (QOF).
Practices participating in the SQPS will work closely and collaboratively with other health organisations in Somerset, sharing highly skilled staff between practices to provide more advanced care of long term conditions, such as diabetes, and in the care of the frail and elderly.
The one year trial starting Summer 2014 will be closely monitored by NHS England and independently evaluated by the South West Academic Health Science Network upon completion.
Linda Prosser, Director of Primary Care for the Bristol, North Somerset, Somerset and South Gloucestershire Area Team, said, “NHS England is pleased to be supporting this locally designed, innovative approach. It’s responding to patient needs by giving GPs greater flexibility and potential to work closer together to improve primary care services for people locally.”
Dr Matthew Dolman, Chairman of Somerset Clinical Commissioning Group, said: “We are very pleased that NHS England has agreed to the proposed pilot of a local quality scheme focusing on integration of care around the patient and sustainability of primary care. We have listened to our members, to patients and to other stakeholders and look forward to testing out this new way of working.
“The one year pilot will be subject to rigorous evaluation and we hope the results will be of interest, not just locally but nationally as well. The majority of Somerset’s GP practices will be taking part in the pilot, which will run until the end of March 2015.”
Dr Sue Roberts, Chairman of Somerset Local Medical Committee, said: “Somerset LMC has been delighted to work closely with the Area Team, Somerset CCG and practices to enable this pilot project to come to fruition. We are fortunate in Somerset to have a unique opportunity to do this based on the relationships that have developed between the organisations and building on the high quality of care that Somerset GPs have always delivered. Hopefully the results of this pilot can begin to show how GPs, when given the opportunity, can really make a difference to the care of patients.”
Practices taking part in the scheme will continue to provide the care set out in the QOF as clinically appropriate and will continue to report on this care. However, funding will be issued on the basis of contribution to providing proactive, multidisciplinary and integrated care for patients, rather than by QOF performance.
Evaluation will include analysis of how greater integration of health care services can lead to improvements in patients’ confidence in managing their long term conditions, and what impact this has had on the use of secondary care services and health outcomes.
No local alternatives to the QOF will be offered by NHS England in any other part of the country during 2014/15.
Notes to Editors
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