Exclusive GPs in another area of the country have been allowed by NHS England to opt out of QOF indicators that will come to an end in April and still be paid, in order to give them ‘breathing space’ to begin implementing the 2014/15 contract.
Pulse has learnt that Lincolnshire, Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland LMCs has agreed the move with its local area team, with the scheme to begin from 1 February.
This follows a similar scheme agreed with NHS England in Devon and Cornwall, and despite other GP leaders being rebuffed by area team managers.
But it does not go as far as practices in Somerset, who have been given permission to ditch QOF completely until April, and indefinitely after that if they take part in a new scheme to test new models of delivering primary care.
The scheme allows practices to stop reporting their achievement on the 351 QOF points that will be removed from the framework in April.
Instead, NHS England has agreed that practices can opt out and begin work on delivering ‘co-ordinated care for vulnerable patients’ and integrating services for patients and carers ‘to improve outcomes’.
A letter from the LMC to local practices says: ‘This scheme seeks to provide breathing space for your practice to put in place specific measures that are part of the core contract from April and the new DES.
‘This is supported by full payment for the retiring QOF points without the need for further evidence gathering.
‘The scheme will enable your practice to deliver co-ordinated care for vulnerable patients, to progress your approach to integrated services for patients and carers to improve outcomes. We must work together to address the significant challenges that we face to ensure patients and carers get the care and support they need.
‘Please note that if you opt in to the scheme, you must continue as usual with the remaining QOF indicators. These points will be paid on actual achievement in the normal way at year end. Achievement will be calculated as per the 2013/14 QOF indicators and thresholds. Practices that do not choose to opt in must continue as normal with their 2013/14 QOF.’