The Quality and Outcomes Framework (QOF) has enabled "dramatic improvements" to patient care and should remain central to the work of general practice, according to a briefing paper published by BMA Scotland (BMAS) yesterday (8 February 2010).
The QOF is helping to reduce inequalities, ensuring that patients get consistent evidence-based care wherever they live, says the paper.
Other key findings suggest hospital admissions for patients with asthma have been reduced, the management of diabetes has improved, and blood pressure monitoring and control has also improved.
Dr Dean Marshall, Chairman of the BMA's Scottish GPs' Committee, said: "GPs are working hard to save lives by targeting diseases that kill such as heart disease, cancer and kidney disease. They are also improving the quality of life of patients with illnesses such as asthma, diabetes, depression and dementia.
"Research has shown that improvements in managing these conditions in general practice, through the QOF, is reducing outpatient visits and hospital admissions. This is good news for our NHS."
He added: "This report demonstrates without a doubt, the huge benefits that can be derived from investing in general practice and the positive consequences this can have on people's lives.
"More importantly, however, it should demonstrate to government the importance of focusing on evidence-based care that has proven clinical outcomes for patients.
"The QOF is recognised internationally as a great success. If the Scottish government wants to promote quality in the NHS, then I can think of no better place to start than by ensuring that the QOF remains central to the work of general practice."