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Osteoporosis for QOF?

Osteoporosis experts are to be called to give oral evidence to the review of the quality and outcomes framework as the push for points for the disease gathers momentum.

The move follows the success of a pilot project on the Isle of Man, where GPs reportedly bought into a trial set of QOF points for osteoporosis 'with enthusiasm'.

It is seen as the strongest indication yet that osteoporosis may be added to the framework as part of the expected overhaul next year.

The submission from the society proposes targets for three separate groups of patients: those with a prior fragility fracture, those living in a residential or nursing care home and those taking steroids long-term.

GPs would be expected to draw up registers of patients and treat them with bone-sparing agents where appropriate or, in the case of care home residents, calcium.

Heidi-Mai Warren, Government relations manager at the society, who oversaw the submission, said: 'It's a positive sign that we've been invited to give oral evidence as I know that not everybody has.'

The disease has been tipped to be awarded QOF points ever since narrowly missing inclusion in the last review, and the National Osteoporosis Society said it was now 'quietly optimistic' of success.

Dr Jonathan Bayley, one of the submission's lead authors and chair of the NICE osteoporosis group, said: 'Does it map to the submission criteria? Absolutely – perhaps more than other clinical areas.'

Dr Bayley, who recently retired as a GP, will present the evidence to QOF chief Helen Lester and osteoporosis expert Dr Terry O'Neill on 14 June.

He said an aging population, coupled with the success of the Isle of Man study, made the inclusion even more likely. 'All the reports show GPs bought into it with enthusiasm. I think it is something GPs feel they can put their shoulders behind.'

Dr Helen Hosker, a GPSI in old age medicine in Manchester, said: 'The prevention of osteoporosis is certainly neglected and worthy of attention. It needs improving and the QOF has proved that it is a good way to achieve this improvement for other services in the past.'

The QOF review team refused to elaborate on who else had been invited to give oral evidence at this stage.

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