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16. Dr Colin Hunter

Man behind the QOF

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Dr Colin Hunter comes in at number 10 in the 2013 Pulse Power 50 - down five places from last year’s list.

As chair of the QOF advisory committee at NICE, Dr Colin Hunter has had another busy year shaping GPs’ everyday clinical practice.

This year has been especially challenging as a result of the Government’s imposition of QOF indicators in England, something Dr Hunter says marked a particularly low point for him.

‘The menu which NICE puts forward is in essence for negotiation and like all negotiations it is good to have some choice and manoeuvrability,’ he says. ‘When the advisory committee agreed the menu we had no idea imposition was on the cards - if we had it would look quite different.’

He will be bracing himself for another tussle in the next round of negotiations over clinical indicators, with the proposed introduction of tighter blood pressure targets in vascular disease set to reopen the debate on exception reporting and appropriate achievement thresholds.

And then there is the wider debate about where the QOF is going, with NHS England looking to considerably cut back the amount of contractual work it covers - something Dr Hunter welcomes.

‘My belief is [the QOF] has grown arms and legs and it would be good if we could reduce some of the workload implications for practices. I hope to contribute to that discussion.’

Dr Hunter is still very much involved in the RCGP as chair of trustees, having been the College treasurer for the past eight years. That role involved overseeing its move to 30 Euston Square this year, ‘a project I had been working on for eight year as College treasurer and which was a joy and a relief to see coming to fruition’.

The charismatic Scot says he ‘loves chairing complex and challenging meetings’ and on top of all this still loves the day job working as a GP partner. But he hints that juggling these roles can be stressful. ‘My wife and I have a cottage close to Balmoral in Braemar where we retreat most weekends, he says. ‘There I can feel the stress levels fall.’

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