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No guidance yet for new QOF targets

The GPC has announced details of the new QOF indicators amid warnings from GPs of daunting workload implications.

As Pulse predicted last week, GPs will be expected to screen all patients with heart disease and diabetes for depression, ensure treatment of those with atrial fibrillation and meet tough blood pressure targets in patients with chronic kidney disease.

But guidance on meeting the new targets will not be available until late January at the earliest, while development of Read codes is still under way ­ leaving practices in limbo.

Dr Robert Morley, joint executive secretary of Birmingham LMC, said practices needed to 'gear up' to take on the extra work and criticised lack of information on Read codes.

'There's a huge issue with Read codes. For depression there's hundreds of them ­ we need to know which to use,' he said.

GPC chair Dr Hamish Meldrum said the guidance was still under development but there would be 'plenty of time' for practices to prepare for 1 April.

But Dr Morley said: 'Urban practices are going to have huge numbers of people with depression and chronic kidney disease. We're going to have to work even more for less pay.'

Dr Robin Hollands, a GP in Cheltenham, Gloucestershire, said: 'It will involve a lot of work, particularly for more objective data collection such as depression.'

Dr Brian Balmer, chief executive of Essex LMCs, agreed that targets on dementia and depression would be 'difficult'.

However, he added: 'I suspect kidney disease, atrial fibrillation and obesity will be quite well covered [by practices].'

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