Sports injuries

January/February 2010

How do we compare?

Applying UK pay for performance indicators to an Australian general practice

Volume 39, No.1, January/February 2010 Pages 43-48

Adrian Elliot-Smith

Mark A J Morgan


United Kingdom general practitioners receive payment based on their performance in multiple clinical indicators. We set out to apply the same indicators in an Australian general practice to benchmark our performance and to see how much work was required to obtain the data.


Clinical indicators for the 2008–2009 UK Quality and Outcomes Framework (QOF) cycle were examined and achievement levels measured in a large rural Australian general practice, mainly by computer searching of the clinical database.


Outcome measures were obtainable for 79 out of 80 indicators. Manual perusal of computer records was required for 16 indicators. Data collection takes approximately 130 hours. The Australian general practice achieved 66% of available pay for performance points compared to the UK average of 97%.


United Kingdom QOF clinical data is obtainable relatively easily in a well computerised Australian rural general practice. The exercise identified significant areas in which clinical performance could be improved.

In 2004, as an attempt to improve and measure the quality of primary care and as part of a new contract with general practitioners, the United Kingdom government introduced a voluntary pay for performance scheme for general practices called the ‘Quality and Outcomes Framework’ (QOF). This provided a potential extra 25% income for GPs and has now been almost universally adopted.

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