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Fam Pract. 2008 Feb;25(1):33-9. doi: 10.1093/fampra/cmm073. Epub 2008 Jan 24.

The effect of the UK incentive-based contract on the management of patients with coronary heart disease in primary care.

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Department of General Practice & Primary Care, University of Aberdeen, Foresterhill Health Centre, Westburn Road, Aberdeen AB25 2AY, UK.



The new General Medical Services (nGMS) contract was introduced in April 2004 to improve care of chronic diseases such as coronary heart disease (CHD) and reduce differences in treatment between patient subgroups.


To determine whether the recording of CHD-related health indicators and prescribing of medicines have increased following the introduction of the nGMS contract and whether differences in the treatment of patients of differing age, gender and deprivation have been affected.


A serial cross-sectional study carried out with 310 general practices in Scotland. The subjects were patients with CHD as identified by their GP. Main outcome measures were the recording of CHD-related health indicators and prescribing of medicines at pre- and post-contract time points (covariates: gender, age, co-morbidity, deprivation and practice size).


The recording of CHD-related quality indicators and prescribing increased dramatically (mean absolute increase of 17.1%) after the introduction of the nGMS contract. Post-contract, disparities between patient subgroups, continued for certain components of care. Women were less likely to be recorded than men in 9 of 11 components of care, with older patients (7 of 11 components of care) and the most deprived (4 of 11 components of care) also less likely to have a record than the youngest and least deprived, respectively.


The introduction of the new contract was associated with a dramatic rise in the recording of CHD-related quality indicators. However, not all the population benefited equally for certain aspects of care.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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