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New Somerset scheme will benefit practice nurses

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A new quality scheme replacing the QOF in Somerset aims to increase time for training and recruitment of practice nurses, according to the chairman of Somerset CCG.

GP practices will be given the opportunity to trial the locally designed Somerset Quality Practice Scheme (SPQS) - created by Somerset CCG, Somerset LMC, local GP practices and NHS England - or to continue using the national QOF.

Dr Matthew Dolman, chairman of Somerset Clinical Commissioning Group, said: 'I think having listened to what the practices want will allow practice nurses to work in a much more efficient, effective way that is person-centred not computer list generated. I think practice nurses are doing a significant amount of patient centred care but we need to create more time and training for them.

'One of the key outcomes [of the SPQS] we would be aiming for is to recruit more nurses in practices and keep them there.'

Practices participating in the SPQS will work with other health organisations in Somerset to share staff between practices and provide more advanced care of long-term conditions and in the care of the frail and elderly.

Dr Dolman said: 'Our aim with the SPQS is to take things back to patient care.

'Practice nurses already deliver a significant proportion of the current QOF. The metrics will be reported nationally but we want to be able to have conversations with NHS England and our community to ensure that high-quality care is being piloted.

'We want to be able to recruit more doctors and nurses and integrate with our local authorities by keeping community care at the centre.'

Key focuses of the scheme are sustainability, integration and delivering care for long-term conditions in a different way but maintaining quality, he said.

The one-year trial will start in summer 2014 and will be monitored by NHS England and independently evaluated by the South West Academic Health Science Network on completion.

'We are very clear that this is a pilot and we can use it as a launch pad for primary care in the future across the country. However, if patients do not feel they are getting a good service, then we will revert back to using the QOF,' Dr Dolman added.

There has been a 75 per cent uptake of the SPQS.

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