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GPC to seek removal of hypertension and QP indicators

GPC negotiators have indicated they will be seeking the removal of hypertension and A&E attendance QOF indicators in the forthcoming negotiations.

A small sample survey carried out by Leeds LMC found that the majority of GPs wanted the removal of two hypertension and two QP indicators. The respondents also overwhelmingly said the QOF system has ‘grown out of all proportions’ and could damage patient care.

Following a GPC meeting, the negotiators said the results came as ‘no surprise’ and the committee endorsed the LMC’s findings.

GPC deputy chair Dr Richard Vautrey said: ‘We all advocate the removal of these indicators. It’s in line with what we anticipated. In many ways there were no surprises from the survey because they were highlighting the types of indicators we would expect them to.’

The survey of 75 GPs and 13 practice nurses asked which QOF indicators should be scrapped. They remained largely supportive of most of the older QOF but were opposed to indicators imposed by the DH last April including those relating to performing an annual exercise questionnaire and performing a depression assessment within rigid guidelines.

Some 64% called for HYP004 – ‘The percentage of patients with hypertension aged 16 to 75 in whom there is an assessment of physical activity, using GPPAQ, in the preceding 12 months’ - to be dropped.

And 60% said QP7-9 should go: ‘The contractor reviews accident and emergency attendances and develops and implements a plan to reduce avoidable A+E attendances’.

It also found that an overwhelming 96% of GPs and practice nurses said plans to increase QOF thresholds year on year would not improve clinical care. And more than two thirds - 69% - said the plans could harm patients.

This follows an assurance from health secretary Jeremy Hunt this week that the GP contract will be rewritten by next April to ensure a ‘dramatic simplification’ in targets and incentives.

Mr Hunt said: ‘QOF, DES, LES and myriad other targets were all introduced with the best of motives. But they’ve created a bureaucratic overlay to the work of a GP which means there is often a conflict between the requirements of a patient and the needs of a practice to generate income.’

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