Background: While practice-level or team accreditation is not new to primary care in the UK and there are organisational indicators in the Quality and Outcomes Framework (QOF) organisational domain, there is no universal system of accreditation of the quality of organisational aspects of care in the UK.
Aim: To describe the development, content and piloting of version 1 of the Primary Medical Care Provider Accreditation (PMCPA) scheme, which includes 112 separate criteria across six domains: health inequalities and health promotion; provider management; premises, records, equipment, and medicines management; provider teams; learning organisation; and patient experience/involvement, and to present the results from the pilot service evaluation focusing on the achievement of the 30 core criteria and feedback from practice staff.
Design of study: Observational service evaluation using evidence uploaded onto an extranet system in support of 30 core summative pilot PMCPA accreditation criteria.
Setting: Thirty-six nationally representative practices across England, between June and December 2008.
Study population: interviews with GPs, practice managers, nurses and other relevant staff from the participating practices were conducted, audiotaped, transcribed, and analysed using a thematic approach. For each practice, the number of core criteria that had received either a 'good' or 'satisfactory' rating from a RCGP-trained assessment team, was counted and expressed as a percentage.
Results: Thirty-two practices completed the scheme, with nine practices passing 100% of core criteria (range: 27-100%). There were no statistical differences in achievement between practices of different sizes and in different localities. Practice feedback highlighted seven key issues: (1) overall view of PMCPA; (2) the role of accreditation; (3) different motivations for taking part; (4) practice managers dominated the workload associated with implementing the scheme; (5) facilitators for implementation; (6) patient benefit--relevance of PMCPA to quality improvement; (7) recommendations for improving the scheme.
Conclusion: Version 1 of PMCPA has been piloted as a primary care accreditation scheme and shown to be relevant to different types of practice. The scheme is undergoing revision in accordance with the findings from the pilot and ongoing consultation.