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The waiting game

Jeremy Hunt: 'I would scrap QOF if I could'

Health secretary Jeremy Hunt has said that the reduction of QOF targets in this year’s GP contract did not go far enough, telling a conference that he would ‘remove the lot of them if he could’.

Mr Hunt, who was delivering a keynote speech at an NHS Clinical Commissioners conference in London earlier today, said there was a need for change to restore the bond between doctors and patients, and that QOF reductions had been one attempt at doing this.

But commenting on the remarks, GPC deputy chair Dr Richard Vautrey said they would cause a lot of concern.

Mr Hunt said: ‘I think at the heart of the changes that we need, is to restore that strong bond between doctor and patient at a local level, outside hospital.’

‘That’s why we changed the GP contract, introducing, bringing back named GPs for those 75 and over, and removed 40% of the QOF targets - and I’d like to remove the lot of them if I could - because I think continuity of care is absolutely core to the vision that we all want, in terms of out of hospital care for people with chronic and long term conditions.’

Dr Vautrey said: ‘Medical charities and other patient groups would be very concerned if the whole of QOF was removed. I think it has provided a good basis for ensuring that patients right across the UK actually receive a standard of […] support and treatment.’

‘I think we shouldn’t underestimate the significant benefit that QOF has had in improving the quality of care right across the country for patients with long term conditions.
Having said that, and we’ve made clear, that we think there is scope for further changes which further reduce micromanagement of practices and which place greater emphasis on empowering GPs as clinicians and professionals.’

The 2014/15 GP contract deal, negotiated between NHS England and the GPC, has seen a 40% reduction in the number of QOF points, with some of that money moved into global sum funding in return for GPs taking on the ‘named GP’ role for over-75s, and some used to create the new DES aimed at reducing unplanned admissions.


Readers' comments (41)

  • The only thing Hunt want's to reduce is funding. The QOF funding will go, the work will not.

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  • The voting public will surely 'remove the lot of them' from government next May! Before too late.

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  • What a coincidence because I would scrap Jeremy Hunt if I could.

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  • There is a need for change to restore the bond between honest (cough) politicians and voters, who break manifesto pledges the moment they are cosy in No.10.

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  • Hunt has contempt for GPs and his "pitbull" the Daily Mail is repeatedly used for "intimidation" of troublesome political oponents. The trouble is his "pet" needs something back.....the reassurance of no press regulation. All is well-thanks goodness- and he can snooze tonight with his loyal "pet", the Daily Mail guarding him at his feet.

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  • Just Your Average Joe

    How is Mr Hunt still in politics let alone a position of trust after the Murdoch scandal?

    QOF ensures all patients in all practices are set to receive the same quality of care through out primary care.

    The work has funding that brought chronic disease management into primary care from hospital clinics. If the QOF is removed the work cannot return easily to hospitals as it would now bankrupt the NHS.

    No-one else does work as cost effectively as Primary care.

    There has to be a point where the profession stands up for itself, and says no to changes imposed - or we will all be worked to the bone or forced to close the doors as we are unable to remain open due to the cuts.

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  • Vinci Ho

    Agent Hunt,clever?
    Predictable instead.
    Named GP around the clock for over 75 in exchange of 40% QOF being removed.
    So what is to exchange the rest (60%) of QOF?
    8-8/7Ds , of course, evidence based on the results (already written up) of the glorious pilots.
    Then the A/E can have its budget 'adjusted' , more efficiency saving.

    But then somebody might argue,' don't be so cynical, he is a lovely guy and the most GP friendly SOS ever'........

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  • One of the many problems we have is a series of politicians who dramatically change their minds at a moment's notice. It was only this time last year that Hunt imposed a massive increase in QoF.
    Is he now admitting that he was wrong, and if so, where is our apology?
    These constant dramatic changes in policy every couple of years leave the profession reeling and never with enough time to actually implement anything effectively or plan workforce or resources.
    Does he really not understand this?

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  • amazed to agree with J. C. on one and probably the last time.. QOF is a totally ludicrous bizarrely bureaucratic scheme that treats professionals as children.
    it steals valuable consulting time.
    it steals the personal touch on a consultation so valuable for healing.
    it makes patients think gps are only interested in looking at the screen to tick silly boxes rather than them as people.
    it asks people repeatedly about stopping this that and the other when they are not at the stage of the addiction cycle where they are ready to stop so is counterproductive.
    it encourages robotic unpersonalised and therefore low quality medicine.

    this insanely overbureaucratic nonsense should be totally scrapped and gps paid differently maybe by means of peer clinical governance and support for education and updating.

    i dont know about you but everyday i am forced to tick boxes that i find degrading..we were not trained to deal with such laughable idiocy .
    ..although this is the only agreement i have with j conclusion is i would like to scrap him the doh and nhse...all they do is waste nhs time and resources with their serial extreme incompetence.
    long past time to stop negotiating with idiocy and become a professional body focussed only on high quality evidence based personalised primary care and refuse to deal with them..they are much more dependent on us than we realise and the oublic would support.
    i know...and pigs might fly..maybe it will take a thousand years to get there.the present nhs leadership will be laughed at as fools in the future..lets try not to collude with morons.

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  • QoF is a beast that most of general practice is used to now. It has been shown to improve patient care.

    My worry is by removing it - that funding will move to provide 7 day cover with GPs left little choice to accept. A lot of the QoF work will have to be done anyway.

    This plays in the hand of private companies that use a salaried and locum service to provide long hours and in my experience not interested in QoF.

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