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Government advisers rail over QOF inertia

By Lilian Anekwe

The Government's own advisers are leading a backlash against its decision to ditch a series of clinical changes to the QOF

A string of heavyweight advisers accused the Government of a serious missed opportunity and of not basing its decisions on evidence-based patient care.

Professor Julia Hippisley-Cox, an adviser to the Government on the QOF and professor of general practice at the University of Nottingham, said there was no evidence for the Government's claim that extending surgery time would improve healthcare.

She said: ‘The priority should be on meeting genuine clinical needs and I think the best way to do this is to identify clinical topics where care could be improved and focus on these and drive up standards.'

Dr Donal O'Donoghue, the Government's renal tsar and clinical director of renal medicine at the Hope hospital in Salford, said it was ‘disappointing' that the Government had failed to make the expected uprating to the points for chronic kidney disease, calling it a missed opportunity.

‘The people who will miss out will be the GPs who are providing the best therapy, because they will be incurring the burden in patients where best practice is driven by the QOF.'

Pulse revealed earlier this month how the Government's proposals to award extra QOF points for access would mean no new clinical areas for the QOF.

Among proposed changes to be shelved include a GPC proposal to redistribute 38.5 points from the organisation and holistic domains to two new clinical areas, for peripheral arterial disease and osteoporosis.

A letter to The Times signed by Dr Alun Cooper, a GPSI in osteoporosis in Crawley, West Sussex, and a coalition of royal colleges and charities, including the Royal College of Surgeons and the National Osteoporosis Society, said the clinical changes had been a chance to tackle a ‘national tragedy' for older people.

The letter added: ‘The new measures proposed would have constituted one of the most beneficial and cost-effective reforms in preventive care for older people in recent years.'

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