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At the heart of general practice since 1960

QOF an 'abysmal failure' in managing GP workload

The quality framework has failed to address key patient concerns or improve GP morale, a detailed analysis concludes.

The study found the QOF had not improved access to care, and had 'failed abysmally' to help GPs manage their workload.

Researchers questioned 147 GPs on their attitude to the new framework. In total 71% disagreed that they were better able to control their workload as a result of the contract, 'indicating that the contract has failed abysmally on one of its critical success factors'.

The study, published in the latest issue of Health Services Management Research, also concluded the contract had failed to improve job satisfaction – warning recruitment to general practice would suffer.

Adrienne Curry, lead author of the study and senior lecturer in the faculty of management at the University of Stirling, said: 'This implies potential negative effects on patient quality, and the Government can expect a further decline in recruitment in what is already an unpopular area of medicine.'

But the researchers' solutions were also controversial, with calls for payment for flexible opening hours, the scrapping of exception reporting and a 'revisiting' of the Carr-Hill formula – all in line with the Government's current policy direction but unlikely to be universally accepted among GPs.

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