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GPs pleased as ministers soften stance on local QOFs

By Lilian Anekwe

GP leaders are claiming a victory in their battle against the imposition of local QOFs, after ministers conceded they would not fund any local indicators using money allocated for the national framework.

In its analysis of the 220 responses submitted to its consultation on the QOF, the Department of Health significantly softened its stance on local QOFs.

The DH acknowledged the suggestion that a proportion of national QOF investment should be reserved for local indicators had received a ‘mixed response', with even the majority of those supporting the proposal calling for a 5% cap on local indicators.

Rather than impose nationally-funded local indicators, the DH said it would now encourage PCTs to adopt indicators developed by NICE, to ensure local initiatives were evidence-based and properly reflected local health needs.

‘We recognise that arrangements to support more local investment decisions will need to be developed carefully over time,' the DH response stated.

‘The ability to use NICE-approved indicators would support PCTs to improve the clinical effectiveness and cost-effectiveness of services they commission, whether this is through the QOF or local enhanced services.'

Dr Richard Vautrey, deputy chair of the GPC, said he felt GPs' opinions had been listened to: ‘We've had positive, constructive discussions with NICE. While the Government still leaved the door open to the possibility of local QOFs, they're certainly not taking about taking resources away from the QOF to fund that. They talk more about PCTs choosing from a library of NICE indicators, which is a more sensible way forward.'

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