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Government confirms public health QOF indicators

The DH has confirmed plans to introduce a public health domain in next year’s QOF, ringfencing 15% of QOF points for indicators that prevent disease and tackle health inequalities.

As part of the proposed changes to the contract, the DH said the new QOF public health domain will be the responsibility of new body Public Health England from April 2013.

Although no new public health indicators have been announced for the coming year, the public health domain will include the current indicators on primary prevention of cardiovascular disease, blood pressure, obesity and smoking . Also included in the domain will be indicators for cervical screening, child health surveillance, maternity services, and contraception.

The GPC is concerned that Public Health England may introduce new indicators when it takes responsibility for the public health domain of the QOF in April 2013.

Dr Richard Vautrey, a GPC negotiator, said there was a fear new indicators will be introduced for 2014/15 with the QOF be used as a vehicle to achieve the Government’s aims for health outcomes, many of which are outside the control of GPs.

He said: ‘The key is what public health England plan to do with it in the future. There are already aspects of QOF that can be described as having public health incentives. We need to ensure it’s something that can be delivered in general practice rather than becoming a tool to deliver wider policy aims.’

Dr William Beeby, the GPC’s prescribing lead, said: ‘The problem is that we don’t know what, where or how this is going to happen after next year. The way the Government are behaving with the QOF is quite cavalier, they don’t seem to be involving general practitioners. I don’t think anyone is happy about the way this has been negotiated.’