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Addressing long-term physical healthcare needs in a forensic mental health inpatient population using the UK primary care Quality and Outcomes Framework (QOF): an audit

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Objectives: This audit aims to evaluate the effectiveness of delivering an equivalent primary care service to a long-term forensic psychiatric inpatient population, using the UK primary care national Quality and Outcomes Framework (QOF).

Method: The audit compares the targets met by the general practitioner with special interest (GPwSI) service, using local and national QOF benchmarks (2005–2006), and determines the prevalence of chronic disease in a long-term inpatient forensic psychiatry population.

Results: The audit results show that the UK national QOF is a useful tool for assessment and evaluation of physical healthcare needs in a non-community based population. It shows an increased prevalence of all QOF-assessed long-term physical conditions when compared to the local East London population and national UK population, confirming previously reported elevated levels of physical healthcare need in psychiatric populations.

Conclusions: This audit shows that the UK General Practice QOF can be used as a standardised instrument for commissioning and monitoring the delivery of physical health services to inpatient psychiatric populations, and for the evaluation of the effectiveness of clinical interventions in long-term physical conditions. The audit also demonstrates the effectiveness of using a GPwSI in healthcare delivery in non-community based settings. We suggest that the findings may be generalisable to other long-term inpatient psychiatric and prison populations in order to further the objective of delivering an equivalent primary care service to all populations. The QOF is a set of national primary care audit standards and is freely available on the British Medical Association website or the UK Department of Health website. We suggest that primary care workers in health economies who have not yet developed their own national primary care standards can access and adapt these standards in order to improve the clinical standards of care given to the primary care populations that they serve.


Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Family Practitioner, The Wood Street Medical Centre; Visiting Fellow, London South Bank University, London, UK

Publication date: March 1, 2008

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