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GP leaders backtrack over NICE QOF role

By Lilian Anekwe

The GPC has softened its previously vehement opposition to NICE overseeing the QOF, with negotiators now saying they are relaxed about the institute's planned role.

GPC chair Dr Laurence Buckman claims talks with NICE have been ‘very positive' and that the GPC is now much more comfortable with proposals for NICE to set future QOF indicators.

The comments represent a significant shift in stance after the GPC's earlier strident criticism of plans for NICE to review the QOF by cost-effectiveness and reject indicators ‘embedded' in general practice.

In the GPC's official response to the Government's QOF consultation, the GPC said it had ‘serious reservations about the proposed role of NICE in the QOF process'.

The GPC had accused NICE of failing to sufficiently understand primary care and claimed that proposals to establish a primary care consideration panel would leave the QOF at the mercy of stakeholders ‘who could inappropriately and unduly influence key priorities'.

But it appears those fears have been diluted following discussions with NICE chief executive Andrew Dillon.

When asked whether the GPC still had concerns about the primary care consideration panel, Dr Buckman said: ‘I am relaxed more now we've had our discussions with NICE. If all it's doing is supervising the expert panel then that seems to me to be quite reasonable.

‘NICE are there to see the evidence base is secure and is publically analysed. And I believe what they say. So as long as it happens the way they say it's going to happen, that's fine.'

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