QOF payments will not be protected beyond the end of March, the BMA has confirmed.
However, funding protection could be reinstated later in the year if there is a ‘spike’ in Covid cases in the autumn or winter, BMA GP Committee chair for England Dr Richard Vautrey said.
But now, Dr Vautrey has confirmed that QOF income protection will end on 31 March and that the BMA will have ‘a discussion’ with NHS England about reinstating the measures later in the year if the pandemic escalates.
Speaking at a BMA GP contract webinar for GPs today, he said: ‘From April, QOF won’t be income protected.
‘So from then, it will continue as it would normally have done for the rest of the year, bearing in mind that the Quality Improvement indicators have been carried forward to the following year so some work will have already been done relating to those indicators.’
When asked what would happen to QOF if practices are still delivering Covid vaccinations after April, he added that the BMA needs ‘to be watching the outcome of the pandemic [but] no one really knows what’s going to happen as the year goes on’.
He said: ‘We may find ourselves in a similar situation that we found ourselves in last year where when we reach the autumn or the winter and if we were to unfortunately see a further spike in activity related to Covid infections or we needed to be engaged in other activities, then we would have the same discussion that we had with NHS England last year around income protection.
‘But from April onwards, it’s QOF as it would normally be.’
But when this year’s update to the GP contract was announced in January, GP leaders warned that it would be ‘impossible’ for practices to deliver both the vaccination programme and QOF.
The new QOF framework for 2020/21, published in September, outlined that almost half of points would be restored for 2020/21 while 55% would continue to be protected.