Pockney, Pete, Primrose, John, Kinley, Helen, George, Steve, Lattimer, Val, Smith, Helen, Little, Paul, Lowy, Adam and Kneebone, Roger
Impact of the introduction of fee for service payments on types of minor surgical procedures undertaken by general practitioners: observational study
Journal of Public Health, 26, (3), . (doi:10.1093/pubmed/fdh152).
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The 1990 general practitioners (GPs) contract introduced item of service payment for minor surgery, payable for six categories of procedure. Early review showed no substitution of cheaper procedures for more expensive treatments. Detailed payment data from six Health Authorities for the period 1993–2000 show an 11 per cent increase in claims, largely accounted for by the rise in cautery, incorporating cryotherapy. Cryotherapy is no more effective at treating warts than cheap commercially available products, but is quite profitable for GPs. This is yet another example of item of service payment distorting treatment priorities. The new GP contract, and the initiative to develop GPs with special interests in dermatology and minor surgery, will allow primary care trusts to develop minor surgery undertaken by appropriately skilled and experienced GPs, and which
reflects the needs of the population.
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