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LMCs vote against abolition of QOF

The LMCs Conference has voted against removing QOF altogether, and criticised moves by local areas to opt out of the outcome framework.

The conference voted down a motion that demanded GPC negotiate the transfer of the remaining core clinical QOF points into core general practice funding.

It also agreed that local arrangements – such as those undertaken by Somerset LMC – to remove QOF ‘undermine national contract negotiations’ and could ‘potentially lead to worse financial outcomes for practices’.

The vote comes after the QOF was reduced by 40% from April and health secretary Jeremy Hunt suggested he would like to get rid of all the indicators in the framework.

Before a close vote, Dr Paul Abbot from Cornwall and Isles of Scilly LMC said: ‘It’s clear that QOF has to go.’

He added that he wanted conference to ‘allow the negotiators to build on their achievements this year’ and ‘slay the many-headed serpent it has become’.

Speaking against the motion, Dr Kieran Sharrock from Lancashire LMC said: ‘Yes, QOF is a tick-box monster. However, so is the core contract.’

‘QOF is the gateway for providing good quality care to our patients. But it is mainly administered through IT systems and is therefore quite easy. The demands of the core contract are administered by… practice managers, us, our partners. We spend as much time tick-boxing for the core contract as the QOF.’

Dr Andrew Green, representing the GPC, said: ‘We are trying to reduce QOF and put that money in the global sum, but we are not trying to abolish it. It does have good points, it does help the treatment of long-term conditions and reduces health inequalities.’

The conference also voted in favour of a motion stating that local QOF alternative schemes ‘could undermine national contract negotiations’.

Dr Ken Megson, chair of Newcastle LMC, said it is clear that local contracts ‘are on the agenda’ of NHS England.

He said: ‘It is a slippery slope with increasing inequity of pay terms and conditions across the nation.’

Motions in full

Motion 55 – Lost

CORNWALL AND ISLES OF SCILLY That conference believe QOF has become a box ticking monster and demand GPC negotiate the transfer of the rest of the core clinical QOF points into core general practice funding.

Motion 56 – Carried all parts

NEWCASTLE AND NORTH TYNESIDE That conference does not support any local QOF scheme or local contract that goes beyond what has been agreed as part of the nationally negotiated contract agreement and believes:

(i) such local arrangements could undermine national contract negotiations

(ii) local contracts could potentially lead to worse financial outcomes for practices.

Motion 57 – Carried

CAMBRIDGESHIRE That conference commends the flexibility demonstrated by some area teams in agreeing with LMCs early implementation of national QOF changes, designed to improve services to patients, in a way that does not undermine national negotiations.