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Practices to focus on learning disabilities under QOF 'quality improvement'

Next year practices will focus on improving care for patients with learning disabilities as part of the new 'quality improvement' modules that will account for a large number of QOF points, NHS England has announced.

NHS England outlined new plans in its board papers for seven new quality improvement module areas, which will also include cancer care, CVD, mental health, shared decision making, antibiotic prescribing and wider primary prevention.

The seven new modules, two of which will be implemented every year, will count for 37 points each and will be changed every year. 

NHS England have confirmed that the learning disabilities QI module will be implemented next year.

Under the plans, practices will also have to aim to deliver the 75% target for health checks for patients with learning disabilities and increase the number of flu vaccines given, due to the 'level of avoidable mortality associated with respiratory problems', according to the papers.

These seven 'quality improvement' QOF modules have been agreed for development between NHS England, the RCGP and the BMA GP Committee and are in the ‘initial pipeline’ as part of the QOF.

The new quality improvement domain –  counting for 74 points a year in total – is aimed to 'provide support for contractors and their staff to recognise areas of care which require improvement'.

Back in April, two quality improvement modules focusing on prescribing safety and end-of-life care became part of QOF, each counting for 37 points.

The QOF guidance released as part of the contract this year said that for each module, practices can earn 27 points for showing 'continuous quality improvement activity' and ten points for participating in network meetings to 'regularly share and discuss learning from quality improvement activity as specified in the QOF guidance.'

The recent board papers indicated its plans for the future.

They said: ‘Specifically on QOF, we today share our initial pipeline of planned quality improvement modules agreed with GPC and RCGP: (i) early cancer diagnosis,  (ii) CVD prevention and detection, (iii) supporting people with learning disabilities, (iv) shared decision making, (v) anxiety and depression, (vi) anti-microbial resistance including antibiotic prescribing, and (vii) wider primary prevention.'

A BMA spokesperson confirmed it had agreed the seven modules with NHS England and said the modules are still in development and are ‘subject to negotiation’. 

The RCGP also confirmed they were working on developing the modules but said it couldn’t comment any further.

NHS England also verified that in 2019 it will review the disease indicators for heart failure, asthma, and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) domains.

However, QOF expert Dr Gavin Jamie said he was expecting 'tweaks more than fundamental changes' to these reviews.

Additionally, in 2020, NHSE said it will review the mental health domain to add to QOF updates for the year 2021/22.

Earlier this year, NHSE announced there would be reforms to QOF to remove ’unnecessary indicators.’

In April, GPs were told they would need to participate in meetings with their networks as part of the new quality improvement indicator.

Readers' comments (11)

  • Do hospital consultants have their pay linked to an ever expanding workload of additional clinical standards that have to be documented like GPs, or is it just GPs? if so why is it just GPs that are continually being told to perform more work just to achieve the same income? The job is already unbelievably stressful.

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  • Agree completely with Tony. It's all very well for those in the ivory towers to come up with this stuff but it will lower not increase the quality of care as it will drive more GPs out of the system. Trying to provide a Rolls Royce taxi service when you only own a Morris Minor. If there were enough GPs with enough time yes, this would be great, but there are not.

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  • Carry on loading straw onto an already over loaded camel, see what you get.It is evident that the 'top drs' in the BMA and the RCGP are totally deluded to the state of the GP workforce and its ability to cope.They have been telling us to jib higher for a decade, we have.This is a step too far.F@@@ em.

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  • Things will only change when We GP grow some balls..... No point in we all having verbal diarrhoea here. Leaders are not ready to take action ,so either change leaders or shut up and put up with whats comes our way.

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  • It's not more work for the same income :- BMA have guaranteed that new work always brings new money!
    Wny don't GPs just turn down the extra work that does not brin in new money?
    Income will fall slightly in the first year, but then so will staff expenses, and workload; then in subsequent years you can all work a little less hard for what comes in through the IANR - which will adjust to keep income up, as that is how it works!

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  • David Banner

    Hang on, for years now we’ve been hearing that QOF is to be scrapped.
    But now they’ve stripped out the easy stuff and replaced it with yet more pointless box ticking time consuming tosh for the same money.
    Thanks for nothing.

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  • They really haven't got a clue have they - ever escalating lofty aims - we are trying to just keep enough bums on seats to try and keep the punters safe. I wonder if they ever consider us at all

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  • Tony. Yes that exactly what they were doing in my Trust before I left. Every year, review of job plan and added objectives to it with nothing taken away.
    When I questioned it I was made to feel as if I was a bit dumb.

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  • Two of the 7 will b be implemented each year. And changed each year. Why don't they implement all 7 next year and be done with it.what is the point of changing it. Bring it on ! Lets see who's left at the end.
    This is not health care - this is a game. What??
    Naah! I'm just playing with you!

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  • ‘patients with learning disabilities’
    Happy to provide medical care to anyone but have no training or inclination to get involved in specialist education.

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