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Why we want you to support our campaign for a fair deal for QOF losers

Hundreds of practices face going to the wall as they lose huge sums in the abolition of the MPIG. But it is not too late to prevent this nightmare scenario – if action is taken right now

Hundreds of practices face going to the wall as they lose huge sums in the abolition of the MPIG. But it is not too late to prevent this nightmare scenario – if action is taken right now



It is not easy, or even necessarily desirable, to keep everyone happy. The GPC must now regret getting itself into such contortions during the original QOF negotiations in its efforts to do so. The formula it came up with involved calculating the ratio between practice and average prevalence, square rooting it, truncating at either end and multiplying it all by a price per point. It read more like an attempt to link gravity to special relativity than to link pay to work done.

But then, it quickly became clear that the square root formula did not pay in proportion to work done. It left practices in deprived areas to struggle with high rates of chronic illness with little reward. Resentment about the formula among a significant sector of GPs was allowed to fester for more than four years. In the end, though, the case for scrapping it became unanswerable.

Now, however, the boot is on the other foot. The sudden removal of the formula, and a new system paying on flat prevalence rate, will shift large sums of money away from practices with small numbers of patients with QOF conditions and into the coffers of those who have lost out over the past few years. The redistribution of funds was much needed, even if the new formula is bound to have its imperfections too. But there is a serious risk that in stripping money from practices so quickly some may be destabilised or even forced to close.

Each practice closure would be a disaster for the GPs and patients affected. Many others may be forced to cut services or shed staff to survive. Some GPs may insist that this is tough luck, and that the losers now have been the winners over the past few years. But most will recognise the need to ease the transition and ensure the rush to a fairer system does not leave some practices facing a wholly unfair demise.

It is to ensure a fairer deal for the worst-affected practices that Pulse is this week launching the No QOF Closures campaign. We believe it is unacceptable that some trusts are refusing to take action as practices face going to the wall – and essential the Department of Health takes action against those PCTs sitting on their hands.

The GPC, after originally insisting no practice would close, now admits tens or even hundreds could do so. But it is not too late to prevent that nightmare scenario. Pulse's campaign will shame PCTs into action.

To offer your support for the campaign or post messages of solidarity for colleagues, visit our campaign page.

editorial Pulse campaign: No QOF closures

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