Exclusive: GP practices are set to receive a massive £28 million windfall following an error in QOF payments dating back seven years.
The error - in the national Quality Management and Analysis IT system (QMAS) - relates to additional services under the QOF scheme which cover child health surveillance, cervical screening, maternity and contraceptive services.
Because the error has gone unnoticed for so long, the amount due to the average GP practice is understood to be around £3,400 - including interest.
An item in the NHS Contracting for Health newsletter said: ‘An error has been identified within the QMAS system which calculates payments to GP contractors under QOF and which has resulted in GP practices being underpaid for achievement under the QOF additional services indicators since 2004/05.
‘The Department of Health will provide PCTs with resources to make good these underpayments.'
A DH spokesperson added: ‘The mistake was made during the introduction of new contract arrangements in 2004. An error was made in the formula used to calculate payments to GP practices for the achievement of a small number of QOF indicators.
‘This resulted in small underpayments to GP practices each year since 2004/05. The Government will put this right, and has acted quickly to ensure that the relevant amounts will be paid back accordingly.'
Dr Gavin Jamie, a GP in Swindon who runs the QOF Database website said: ‘My suspicion is this is to do with prevalence levels which they may have got wrong. The QMAS system is going to be down the weekend after next, and that may be so they can update the system.
'Scotland is on QMAS so GPs north of the border could be affected too.
‘It's likely that they will issue a spreadsheet to PCTs showing who is owed what and that they will make the adjustments.'
The Department of Health is understood to be making extra funds available so that cash-strapped PCTs can reimburse GPs quickly.GPs due thousands of pounds after QOF error QOF coding tips