GPs are set to struggle with new QOF points for osteoporosis say LMC leaders, after reports of waits of up to 10 months for DXA scans.
Pulse can reveal that GPC Wales has asked the Welsh government to improve waiting times, in order to cope with the extra workload expected once the new osteoporosis QOF indicators bed in from this month.
GPC Wales says their analysis found the average waits were around three to four months, but GPs from Bro Taf LMC say they have heard reports of 10 month waits for scans.
From 1 April, practices will receive funding for keeping a register of patients, and treating patients, following a diagnosis of osteoporosis confirmed by a DXA scan.
Dr David Bailey, GPC Wales chair, said GPC wrote to the government in Wales and England but they were told that procedures could not be prioritised for QOF purposes.
‘It’s all very well having these quality markers, but if there’s a wait, as with DXA scans, it means some practices will not get the money this year.
‘If patients are referred before September, it will probably be OK, but after that I’m not so sure.
‘I don’t know what the answer is.’
An osteoporosis DES ran from 2008 until March this year, which also required DXA scans to complete, but the volume of work was expected to increase under QOF.
Dr Adam Bajkowski, a GP in Wigan and former president of the Primary Care Rheumatology Society, said: ‘At the moment, there’s no problem, but I do wonder what will happen when there are suddenly many more requests for DXA scans,’ he said.
‘There’s been no communications from radiology departments suggesting they have a plan in place to cope with more demand. Maybe they don’t even know about it.’