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PCT wrong on QOF 'shame'

A PCT that 'named and shamed' practices scoring lower than 750 quality points was wrong to do so, the panel that arbitrates on GP contract disputes has ruled.

Heart of Birmingham Teaching PCT set a policy of referring the practices to a 'performance panel' in 2005, following instructions from its strategic health authority.

But the Implementation Co-ordination Group, a panel of GPC, Department of Health and NHS employers representatives, has ruled it was 'not appropriate' because the 750-point cut- off figure was 'arbitrary'.

In an update on disputes it has resolved, the panel also stated that 'QOF scores provide valuable information to PCTs on the quality of service provided by a practice but should be used in conjunction with other data'.

Dr Robert Morley, joint executive secretary of Birmingham LMC, said the ruling had to have 'teeth' to be worthwhile.

He said: 'We have heard further rumours that once again QOF is going to be used as a performance measure. The department should come down on PCTs like a ton of bricks.'

Dr Laurence Buckman, GPC deputy chair, said using 750 points as a cut-off had been a 'vindictive' move, but most PCTs were being fair with QOF.

Of the other cases brought before the panel (see left), PCTs lost on 19 out of 26 occasions with the most common complaint being spending of enhanced services floor on uncontestable services.

Where PCTs got it wrong

• PCTs cannot enforce allocation of nursing home patients across PCT borders

• PCTs must pay for DESs at or above the level specified in the Blue Book

• Seniority payments must not drop from previous payments

• PCTs must pay at least the minimum legal QUIP payment

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