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Fifth of GPs miss QOF productivity deadline

Exclusive: GPs continue to struggle with the new quality and productivity QOF indicators for reducing A&E attendances, with a quarter missing the deadline for a crucial report last month.

Some 74% of practices of the 24 PCTs surveyed by Pulse submitted results for QP indicator 13 by the deadline of the 30 September.

QP13 asks practices to hold an external peer review to assess A&E attendance data and agree an improvement plan to be sent to their primary care organisation.

But 22% of practices required an extension and 4% did not submit results or missed the deadline and are pending a review from their PCT as to whether they will gain the points.

The indicators – that the Department of Health said this week it wants to continue for another year – have proved problematic for practices.

Last month, Pulse revealed 29% of 2,331 practices failed to meet the 31 July deadline to produce their QP12 report, with the majority granted an extension by managers.

Dr Beth McCarron-Nash,, a GPC member and former negotiator, said: ‘We have heard reports from LMCs who have had varying feedback on the success of QP indicators.

‘In some areas they have worked well, in other areas there are varying reasons why GPs have struggled.

‘With regards to QP13, in some areas the data was not accurate. A lot of doctors stated that its beyond their control.

‘The most likely reason for patients to attend A&E is proximity to A&E, and cultural reasons, which GPs can’t influence.’

NHS Employers have launched a survey to assess the performance of previous quality and productivity QOF indicators, with the results forming part of this year’s discussions on the future of the indicators.

The survey asks PCTs for their opinion on the success of last year’s 11 indicators which were introduced with the aim of improve prescribing, outpatient referrals and emergency admissions.

Pulse also revealed in August that just 72% of practices achieved maximum points against one of the prescribing indicators from last year.

A spokesperson for NHS Employers said: ‘We have recently undertaken a very small scale survey of PCTs to ascertain their opinion on the operation of the Q&P indicators.’

Readers' comments (5)

  • bring on more indicators out of GP's control and expect to fix in one year with a tick box exercise :-
    1)decrease the number ber of obese in the local area
    2) decrease the number of colds caught by the average child in a year
    3)decrease the degrees of mercury falling in temperature from September to December
    4) decrease the number of planned and unplanned pregnancies in the local area

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  • With regards to QP13 it is ridiculous that the regulations specify looking at A&E attendances during January to March when the PCT won't have confirmed data until May or June to pass on to practices.

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  • If the DH isn't really interested in agreeing GPs plans for QP13 because it is such a ridiculous indicator in its aspiration that GPs have any control over A&E usage, then in my view, GPs are entitled to view the resultant loss of practice income as personal commissioning of A&E services on behalf of their patients. Therefore, it follows that overloaded practices can and should encourage patients to attend A&E where reasonably appropriate instead of taking the risk themselves. After all, GPs will be paying for this from their own pockets.

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  • Achieving this indicator is about having appointments available for patients - If they can't get an appointment then they go to A&E. Sure some patients will go there anyway rather than phone a receptionist who will only give them an appointment days or weeks away and some record needs to be kept of persistant attenders of A&E possibly even a blocking system. However it does mean that GPs WILL have to make MORE appointments available and do MORE sessions or employ MORE staff to achieve the goal of reducing A&E attendance. Of course this will come out of the GPs pocket or eat into the time they spend away from their own patients but its a tough world out there and I think everyone would be less than sympathetic to hear of people earning 100k plus whineging about having to work a 40hr week.

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  • I would love the luxury of a 40hr week, I'm lucky if i do less than a 10hr non stop day

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