Incentives and control in primary health care: findings from English pay‐for‐performance case studies

Ruth McDonald (National Primary Care Research and Development Centre, University of Manchester, Manchester, UK)
Stephen Harrison (National Primary Care Research and Development Centre, University of Manchester, Manchester, UK)
Kath Checkland (National Primary Care Research and Development Centre, University of Manchester, Manchester, UK)

Journal of Health Organization and Management

ISSN: 1477-7266

Publication date: 21 March 2008

Abstract

Purpose

The authors' aim was to investigate mechanisms and perceptions of control following the implementation of a new “pay‐for‐performance” contract (the new General Medical Services, or GMS, contract) in general practice.

Design/methodology/approach

This article was based on an in‐depth qualitative case study approach in two general practices in England.

Findings

A distinction is emerging amongst ostensibly equal partners between those general practitioners conducting and those subject to surveillance. Attitudes towards the contract were largely positive, although discontent was higher in the practice which employed a more intensive surveillance regime and greater amongst nurses than doctors.

Research limitations/implications

The sample was small and opportunistic. Further research is required to examine the longer‐term effects as new contractual arrangements evolve.

Practical implications

Increased surveillance and feedback mechanisms associated with new pay‐for‐performance schemes have the potential to constrain and shape clinical practice.

Originality/value

The paper highlights the emergence of new tensions within and between existing professional groupings.

Keywords

Citation

McDonald, R., Harrison, S. and Checkland, K. (2008), "Incentives and control in primary health care: findings from English pay‐for‐performance case studies", Journal of Health Organization and Management, Vol. 22 No. 1, pp. 48-62. https://doi.org/10.1108/14777260810862407

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Publisher

:

Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2008, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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