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GPs to suffer QOF loss

GPs will see a fall in income through the quality framework this year, despite dealing impressively with controversial new indicators on depression and chronic kidney disease.

Figures for more than 700 practices obtained by Pulse reveal they scored 95% of the clinical points available, compared with 97% last year.

The average drop of 16 clinical points will mean a fall in income of nearly £2,000, which, though smaller than expected, will put a further squeeze on practice finances.

The total number of clinical points available this year is 655, with the Pulse data suggesting the average practice will drop around 31 points – heading for a score of 624.

That means practices are missing out on twice as many clinical points as the average 15 dropped last year, with the depression indicators playing a key role in lowering scores.

Depression was the lowest scorer of all the clinical domains, with the average practice scoring 27 points out of a possible 33.

But the average practice scored almost 26 out of 27 for CKD, indicating that GPs have overcome their early nervousness over having to manage the condition.

Pulse obtained the data by submitting a Freedom of Information request to all PCTs, obtaining results for 721 practices nationwide.
Dr Stewart Drage, GPC negotiator, said GPs had been shown, once again, to be extremely hard-working. ‘I am not at all surprised by these findings. GPs will always rise to the challenge of meeting the needs of patients. The fact that they have maintained their scores shows just how hard practices work.'

He added that the slightly lower scores for depression reflected the complexity and extra work these areas presented, suggesting GPs were being under-rewarded for their efforts.

‘We'd want extra points to reflect the clear additional work the mental health categories require. We need to get the value of the points right.'

Dr Fay Wilson, LMC secretary for London, said the results were a reflection of GPs' ability to reach targets in the face of increasing financial pressures.

‘If you put a target in front of a GP, they want to hit it, and a lot of them are slightly obsessive about it.

‘They are trying to keep their practices afloat against increased expenditure, and meeting the QOF targets is the only way to do it.'

Full QOF data will be released by the NHS information centre in September.

• For the latest data on QOF targets, go to searchmedica.co.uk

Pulse's calculations show QOF scores are down, but not as much as expected Pulse's calculations show QOF scores are down, but not as much as expected

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