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NHS chiefs order PCOs to support QOF losers

By Steve Nowottny

NHS leaders have ordered PCOs to support GPs facing huge losses through the QOF prevalence shake-up, after a top-level meeting between the GPC and the Department of Health.

Health minister Ben Bradshaw met GP negotiators as many PCOs defied guidance that they should step in to help practices hit hardest by the scrapping of the square root formula.

The two parties agreed a strongly worded letter issued to all PCOs, from NHS Employers chief negotiator Barbara Hakin and GPC chair Dr Laurence Buckman.

The letter comes as a significant boost to Pulse's No QOF Closures campaign, which has named and shamed nearly 30 PCOs that had not begun talks.

A Pulse spot poll of LMCs last week found most areas with badly affected practices had now begun talks, but some had yet to do so. LMC secretaries in Birmingham, Manchester and Lancashire reported they were still waiting to hear from PCTs.

The letter reads: ‘We would hope by now PCTs are aware of all practices locally that may experience significant losses to their QOF income and are working with them in the way set out in the guidance.

‘We ask any PCTs that have not yet begun to work with affected practices and their LMCs to do so as a matter of urgency.'

Although some PCOs are poised to open talks, Dr Buckman said some – particularly in London – had still not done so.

‘Any practice unable to get its PCO to engage should let its LMC know and I will present a list of PCOs to the DH.'

The axing of the square root element of the QOF formula this April and the truncation element next year will cost some practices up to £100,000 a year.

QOF campaign breakthrough: PCOs have been ordered to step in QOF campaign breakthrough: PCOs have been ordered to step in

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