This site is intended for health professionals only

GPs told their final QOF payments will be delayed because of IT error

Practices’ QOF payments are set to be delayed until May following the IT reporting error that rendered intial estimates incorrect, area teams have told GPs.

An email to GP practices today from the Essex area team confirmed GP leaders’ fears that payments could be delayed by the error, after Pulse revealed earlier this week that GP practices’ year-end QOF payments could change by up to 2%.

The area team told practices that new data would not be collected from EMIS practices until the end of next week, and this would mean payments that were originally scheduled for this month would not happen until May.

The email states: ‘In view of the national problem we will not be able to make any QOF achievement payments in April due to the monthly payment deadlines.

‘If there are no further problems with the CQRS reports this should be achieved with hopefully practices being paid in May if they have successfully signed off their final QOF report.’

It adds that the GMS contract allows for payments to be made up to June.

The Health and Social Care Information Centre, which operates the systems that extract QOF data, told Pulse that contingencies were in effect to continue paying existing monthly aspiration payments.

A spokesperson said: ‘The [payment] schedule will depend on the local practice and arrangement with local area teams. However, aspiration payments will continue to be made according to schedule, some have already been made.’

‘Once the final data is available aspiration payments may be adjusted. It is usual practice that aspiration payments might be adjusted once the final end of year data is confirmed.’

They added ‘significant’ delays were not expected, and that only seven practices had had their payments confirmed by area teams before the problem was identified.

Dr Grant Ingrams, deputy chair of the GPC’s IT subcommittee, told Pulse earlier this week: ‘To me [the delay] would be the most important thing. If it’s going to delay my payment I want interest on the delay.  

‘If they’ve got to wait for the other figures before they can finalise it, there might be a delay in that payment and that would be inappropriate, and I would be looking for recompense.’

Last year a similar NHS England error left the average practice more than £2,000 out of pocket after QOF payments were undervalued by 1.9%.