Scottish GP practices will be able to earn an average of £3,800 over the next six months from an IT and data quality incentive scheme.

The newly agreed directed enhanced service (DES) on benching information governance and data quality is to run from October to the end of March 2008. The one-off DES is being funded using £3.885m in unspent money from last year’s Scottish DES on cardiovascular disease registers.

Practices will be paid an engagement payment of 10% of the projected full payout for the DES if they can complete a self–assessment showing they comply with a basic list of standards for information governance. The full payment, an average of £3,800 per practice depending on list size, will be made to practices for implementing an agreed action plan on improving information governance and data quality.

The action plan must detail how practices intend to improve data quality and information governance including following good practice guidelines on electronic records and use of Read codes and ensuring there is a system in place to identify any breaches in access to information. Practices will also be required to show they have a system for updating, verifying and correctly coding for drug allergies and intolerances, and current medication to support data standards for the Emergency Care Summary.

The agreement of the DES, using money unspent from last year’s CVD register DES, fulfills the Scottish Executive’s commitment to invest £12.6m, the equivalent of 100 Quality and Outcomes Framework points, on enhanced services in 2006/7.

Guidance is to be issued to Scottish NHS boards before the DES begins on 1 October and boards are expected to provide the Scottish Executive with a return of GP practices participating in the DES by 28 September.