The Health Foundation has been asked by the Department of Health to review indicators of the quality of general practice in England, and they will be exploring how these multiple measures might be developed to support improvements in patient care.
The indicators include a new repository of data in 'MyNHS', which started in 2014, and provides 'performance information to support transparency and drive quality'.
In exploring the website, I felt compelled to place an entry about my positive experience of my GP surgery over 22 years, to counter the fact that there were otherwise only negative comments.
In contrast to the data I found on MyNHS, the information from the national annual GP survey looked very positive.
My expectations have also been raised by exploring these sites, as I discovered that my surgery provided an online appointment booking system of which I was unaware – and when comparing with other GP surgeries in the area, I could see other services I would like to be provided at mine.
The PHE general practice health profiles are also full of excellent local information which helps explain the pressures GP surgeries are under. Arguably, they also provide a good predictor of the services that may be needed in the future – for example the disproportionately large 45–54 age band in my area which will require long-term conditions management, if the prevalence of diabetes and obesity in the population continue to rise.
As nurses, we are familiar with Care Quality Commission (CQC) reports. Many general practice nurses will have been part of a CQC primary care inspection by now and will have a view on the validity and reliability of the ratings.
My perceived measures of quality in general practice have, overall, been covered well in the indicators – but quality is a subjective concept and I had to visit many websites to gain the fullest possible picture from the data available.
Nurses working in general practice will have a good understanding of the utility and impact of these quality indicators in relation to practice improvement and it is critical that your views are heard. Please contribute to the general practice quality indicators review at https://engage.health.org.uk/policy-team/gp-quality-indicators-review-consultation-question/consult_view.
Crystal Oldman, chief executive, Queen's Nursing Institute