Impact of the 2004 GMS contract on practice nurses : a qualitative study

W. McGregor, H. Jabareen, C.A. O'Donnell, S.W. Mercer, G.C.M. Watt

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HOME ONLINE FIRST CURRENT ISSUE ALL ISSUES AUTHORS & REVIEWERS SUBSCRIBE RESOURCES Original Papers Impact of the 2004 GMS contract on practice nurses: a qualitative study Wendy McGregor, Hussein Jabareen, Catherine A O'Donnell, Stewart W Mercer and Graham CM Watt British Journal of General Practice 2008; 58 (555): 711-719. DOI: ArticleFigures & DataInfoeLetters PDF ABSTRACT Background The new GMS contract has led to practice nurses playing an important role in the delivery of the Quality and Outcomes Framework (QOF). Aim This study investigated how practice nurses perceive the changes in their work since the contract's inception. Design of study A qualitative approach, sampling practice nurses from practices in areas of high and low deprivation, with a range of QOF scores. Setting Glasgow, UK. Method Individual interviews were conducted, audiotaped, transcribed, and analysed using a thematic approach. Results Three themes emerged: roles and incentives, workload, and patient care. Practice nurses were positive about the development of their professional role since the introduction of the new GMS contract but had mixed views about whether their status had changed. Views on incentives (largely related to financial rewards) also varied, but most felt under-rewarded, irrespective of practice QOF achievement. All reported a substantial increase in workload, related to incentivised QOF domains with greater ‘box ticking’ and data entry, and less time to spend with patients. Although the structure created by the new contract was generally welcomed, many were unconvinced that it improved patient care and felt other important areas of care were neglected. Concern was also expressed about a negative effect of the QOF on holistic care, including ethical concerns and detrimental effects on the patient–nurse relationship, which were regarded as a core value. Conclusions The new GMS contract has given practice nurses increased responsibility. However, discontent about how financial gains are distributed and negative impacts on core values may lead to detrimental long-term effects on motivation and morale.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)711-719
Number of pages9
JournalBritish Journal of General Practice
Issue number555
Publication statusPublished - 1 Oct 2008

Keywords / Materials (for Non-textual outputs)

  • GMS contract, incentives, practice nurses, primary health care


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