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Northern Ireland GPs condemn QOF changes

By Nigel Praities

LMC leaders have condemned the GPC's decision to agree changes to the QOF prevalence formula, which they say have left some practices facing financial ruin.

GPs at the Northern Ireland LMCs conference passed a motion condemning the negotiated settlement, which the conference heard had left a significant number of practices facing major losses.

The motion stated: ‘This Conference condemns the negotiated settlement on prevalence as unfair and inequitable.'

A separate motion was passed calling for urgent help from local NHS managers, in the strongest sign yet of rising GP anger over the lack of help offered to QOF losers.

Dr Martin Cunningham, a GP at a university practice in Belfast, said GPs had been left at the mercy of local NHS managers who had offered no help.

'I have approached my local health board, but their only advice was to go and speak to the GPC. We need support and immediate action.'

The move came after it emerged senior NHS managers have PCTs to view the QOF changes as ‘a real opportunity' to shake up of primary care.

A document from NHS West Midlands, published on the NHS Primary Care Contracting website, encouraged trusts to take a hard line on QOF negotiations.

It said PCTs should not proactively offer help and should try to persuade practices to merge, accept APMS contracts or take on new work in return for help.

Dr Robert Morley, executive secretary of Birmingham LMC and GPC representative for Birmingham and Solihull, said: ‘It is extremely worrying. They are latching onto the coat-tails of contractual funding arrangements and trying to use them to get rid of GMS contracts altogether.'

LMCs are backing Pulse call for action LMCs are backing Pulse call for action

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