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GPs battle against being red-rated on QOF prescribing indicators

GPs are being forced to present fresh evidence of their attainment on this year's QOF quality and productivity indicators after NHS bosses marked them down based on old data.

The disagreement came after NHS Buckinghamshire moved all practices in its locality from green to either amber or red on all five prescribing QP indicators, despite GPs in the area believing they were hitting targets.

The indicators require practices to conduct an internal review of their prescribing, participate in an external peer review of prescribing with other local practices, and propose and agree three areas for improvement. 

They also require GPs to demonstrate the percentage of their prescriptions complying with the agreed plan for all three improvement areas during the period 1 January 2012 to 31 March 2012.

GP leaders said they were still trying to establish why the discrepancy had occurred, but said a time lag on data collected by PCTs could be to blame.

Dr Jim Kennedy, medical director of Berkshire, Buckinghamshire and Oxfordshire LMCs, said: ‘It's because there is a lag time between the collection of the PCT data and where we actually are now.'

‘Practices put a lot of work in the last three to four months of the QOF year. PCTs might talk about trying to move practices down, but it would be difficult for them to do that if the more accurate data from within the practice suggests they shouldn't be moved. Certainly practices would put forward a very strong case.'

GPC deputy chair Dr Richard Vautrey said: ‘Practices should be working with the LMC to try and ensure their PCT sticks to the agreement that was made and hasn't tried to change the goalposts.'

A spokesperson for NHS Buckinghamshire and Oxfordshire cluster said: ‘E-pact data is available six-eight weeks in arrears.'

‘If a practice audited their records they may have more up-to-date data. We have looked at the data and believe it to be correct but are happy to look in more detail for any practice with specific queries or concerns.'