There will be no changes to QOF from April despite the Government and GPC agreeing to review the scheme last year.
Instead, all indicators will remain the same and the total number of points remain unchanged.
The Government has also agreed for the value of a QOF point to increase in line with growth to GP practice list sizes, a technical detail which is required for attached funding to remain unchanged.
Meanwhile, there will be a new contractual requirement for GPs to have retired QOF and DES data extracted starting from July, although the GPC stressed this would not be used for performance management purposes.
A review group will be set up ‘immediately following these negotiations to discuss the future of QOF after April 2018’, the GPC added.
GPC chair Dr Chaand Nagpaul told Pulse that the reason for the delayed review was caution, as nobody wants to destabilise GP practice funding at this time.
He said: ‘Changing QOF carries with it risks of winners and losers and we believe we need to deal with this in in a proper manner, not in haste. We don’t want any unintended consequences…
‘It would not have been right to have gone into a hasty decision around QOF. Especially when we don’t want to see practices destabilised.’
He also said GPs had expressed a variety of views on QOF, including some wishing to keep it. Despite this, the review group is going to look at removing QOF and replacing it with a different scheme.
He told Pulse: ‘We are looking at a replacement of QOF. I guess the question is what will come after QOF, what will be the replacement…
‘We want to be careful with QOF not to replace it with new work, while clinically appropriate work carries on. So there’s a lot that needs to be thought through.’
The news comes as Dr Nagpaul has written to NHS England to ask for GPs to be given the option of opting out of QOF to reduce workload – at least until April. Leeds LMC has already negotiated a QOF suspension until April.
It also comes as the delay in reviewing QOF was highlighted as a red-rated area of concern in the RCGP’s report on progress made on last year’s GP Forward View rescue package last week.