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NICE pledges to align QOF with its guidance

By Lilian Anekwe

The Department of Health has confirmed that it will hand control over the Quality and Outcomes Framework to NICE, despite receiving no consensus from over 200 consultation responses.

The DH today published its analysis of responses to its consultation on the overhaul of the QOF, which ended in October.

The proposals included plans for NICE to review QOF indicators on the basis of clinical and cost effectiveness, introduce a ‘menu' of local QOF indicators, and appoint an external contractor to pilot QOF indicators before they are selected by NICE and then negotiated by the GPC and NHS Employers.

Health minister Ben Bradshaw said: ‘We want to ensure that GP practices continue to deliver more improvements to patient care, and are better supported in keeping patients healthy.

‘It is important that the scheme continues to provide the best health outcomes and value for money for patients. Asking NICE to lead this new process for prioritising and reviewing indicators will ensure the system is constantly updated to meet changing health needs.'

Val Moore, NICE implementation director confirmed NICE would move to align the QOF with its own guidance, saying: ‘It is sometimes confusing for professionals when different pieces of national guidance don't recommend the same things. At worst it undermines the uptake of evidence based best practice.

‘For this reason it is important that new QOF indicators are also under-pinned by evidence of clinical and cost effectiveness. In the future, QOF will not just be restricted to those areas covered by NICE guidance.

'But whatever QOF does cover, it is important to ensure that the new NICE process for QOF is informed by stakeholders with experience in primary medical care.'

Alastair Henderson, joint acting director at NHS Employers, said they had been 'pleased' the DH had vowed to press on with its proposals for local QOFs.

'We are pleased that the Department of Health intend to press ahead and put in place a clear process that will see NICE prioritise, develop and review QOF indicators.

'We believe that the new process will over time allow Primary Care Trusts more local flexibility in commissioning services, and that it will certainly help to deliver cost and clinical effectiveness.'

NICE has pledge to align the QOF with its guidance after being handed control by the DH

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