This site is intended for health professionals only

GPC chair writes to NHS England requesting QOF suspension this year

The GPC has written to NHS England requesting the suspension of QOF for England this year to release pressure on GPs.

The letter from GPC chair Dr Chaand Nagpaul references an agreement between  BMA Wales and the Welsh Government, which allows practices to opt-out of 75% of QOF indicators for the rest of the year.

Dr Nagpaul says he wishes to ‘formally raise the prospect of a similar approach for England’.

It comes as the future of the QOF in the four nations of the UK is in doubt, with the GPC and NHS England last year agreeing to discuss an end to the QOF as part of this year’s contract negotiations.

NHS England chief executive Simon Stevens has indicated that he wants to see an end to the QOF.

However, it looks unlikely that the QOF will be removed for the 2017/18 contract, with April 2018 looking a much more likely date.

Despite this, Dr Nagpaul’s letter to NHS England’s director of commissioning, Ros Roughton, calls for a suspension of the QOF until April at least.

Dr Nagpaul said: ‘As you will be aware the Welsh agreement allows practices to opt-out of 75% of QOF indicators for the remainder of the contractual year to assist with the ongoing workload pressures in general practice.

‘Northern Ireland have similarly followed suit and in Scotland QOF has ended completely.There is absolutely no doubt that practices in England are under significant workload pressures. At such a time as this it is imperative that NHS England does all it can to relieve this pressure so that practices can prioritise the care of urgent cases and provide support to the most vulnerable.

‘Whilst practices will already have done most of the work to achieve QOF indicators this year, removing the requirement to achieve these targets will reduce unnecessary bureaucratic burdens and send an important signal of support to GPs in England at this challenging time.’

It comes as Leeds LMC – where GPC deputy chair Dr Richard Vautrey is an officer – has negotiated an end to QOF work with local CCGs until April to free up ‘headroom and clinical capacity’.

The move agreed between Leeds LMC and the three CCGs will allow practices to drop 80% of QOF requirements and be paid at either their 2016/17 achievement rate or their 2015/16 year end – whichever is highest.