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OnMedica interviews Prof Sir Ian Kennedy

19th May 2010

Dr Nadine Cozens, deputy medical editor of OnMedica, interviews Professor Sir Ian Kennedy, chair of the King’s Fund inquiry into the quality of general practice in England.

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Sir Ian Kennedy acknowledges that while it has taken awhile for the NHS to recognise the importance of quality, "the agenda is now quality".

With the level of patient satisfaction up in the 80s%, “by and large, things aren’t going wrong” but there remains too much mediocrity which needs to be tackled by re-engaging the professionalism and psychological motivation of all professionals.

With regards to the King’s Fund inquiry into the quality of general practice, Sir Ian says not enough is known about the level of performance of GPs and improving that will rely on developing agreed benchmarks and the availability of data.

While the Quality and Outcomes Framework (QOF) was a performance indicator, most doctors hit 90% of targets. He said QOF was not sufficiently demanding, it was selective in the behaviours it incentivised and there is still a debate over benchmarks.

Sir Ian recognised that the looming GP accreditation system is concerning some doctors.

General practice is the key to the future of health care, in terms of preventative care and health promotion, he said, but there will be cuts.

He also recognised there remains “a significant clinician/management divide” meaning patients are being managed in an environment of trench warfare and it is crucial for both clinicians and managers to recognise the existence of one another and accept they all care for patients.

However, while Sir Ian warns there will be future upheavals, he believes the NHS will survive.

 

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