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Government considers ditching QOF exception reporting

By Lilian Anekwe

Exclusive: The Department of Health is considering scrapping exception reporting, Pulse can reveal.

Dr Colin Hunter, a GP in Aberdeen and chair of the independent NICE QOF indicator advisory committee, revealed at the RCGP conference last week that discussions were ongoing about getting rid of the system.

Dr Hunter was responding to a question prompted by Pulse's revelation last month that a report had been submitted to the DH uncovering evidence of QOF gaming and in at least one case deliberate fraud.

The authors of that report advised that the DH ask NICE to review exception-reporting procedures.

Dr Hunter said that the recommendation was being considered closely: ‘There's a very high-level discussion around exception reporting and whether it's needed.

‘We'd initially said you could have no exception reporting, which would have prevented accusations of fraud. But the GPC negotiators were very keen on it as is gives GPs an out - and there are very good clinical reasons to have it.'

Dr David Jenner, a GP in Cullompton, Devon, and GMS lead at the NHS Alliance, called on GPs to ‘lobby for NICE to make recommendations on exception reporting' at the same time as proposing new indicators.

Dr Stephen Campbell, senior research fellow at the National Primary Care Research Centre who jointly leads piloting of potential new QOF indicators, said: ‘We could recommend [exception] codes but it would be a lot of work and require a new contracting process. But it is possible.'

Dr Colin Hunter