Welsh LMCs vote against dropping QOF from GP contract
Local GP leaders in Wales shied away from calling for the abolition of the QOF at the annual conference of Welsh LMCs on Saturday.
The vote appeared to catch GPC Wales chiefs by surprise, despite their advice to delegates to reject the motion because of uncertainty over what might replace the framework.
Proposing the motion, Dr Sarah Bodey from North Wales LMC argued that while QOF had ‘started out with good intentions in 2004’ it had since ‘become a monstrosity’ and a ‘hobby–horse for single-disease pressure groups’.
She added that ‘QOF has clearly done harm’, by ‘taking the focus away from what matters to the patient in a consultation’ and ‘using up the time and energy of healthcare professionals’ as well as ‘feeding into the epidemic of overdiagnosis and overtreatment’.
Dr Bodey said it was ‘time to acknowledge that QOF has had its day,’ and instead ‘concentrate our efforts on providing individualised patient care that actually makes a difference’.
However GPC Wales leaders said the Welsh contract had removed the worse aspects of QOF and advised GPs to wait and to see how removal of QOF impacts in other areas – including Scotland, where the Government has committed to abolishing QOF from 2017 and some areas are already testing its removal - before ditching it altogether.
GPs in Wales are currently half-way through a two-year contract that ditched a large chunk of QOF – worth over 100 points – when it was introduced last April.
Dr David Bailey, deputy GPC chair said there ‘needs to be a “different QOF”’, but added: ‘Don’t for a moment think that Government are going to agree to no sort of quality monitoring – and we have some control over QOF where we are now.
Dr Bailey added: ‘I know which way the vote is going – but just have a think about what is going to replace it and what the response from Government is going to be if we say we want to get rid of QOF.’
GPC Wales chair Dr Charlotte Jones said: ‘We are watching developments in Scotland where it will be replaced with a data quality exercise.
‘A lot of you have told us you do not like the clinical national priority areas of the cluster network domain and you have got to think that is a quality exercise - is that he sort of thing that is going to come in its place? We have to be mindful of that.’