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NHS England declines GPC request for QOF suspension

NHS England has turned down a request from the BMA’s GP Committee to suspend the QOF over winter.

The GPC had hoped NHS England would follow the Welsh Government, which has suspended QOF reporting until the end of March in a bid to free up practices struggling with winter pressures.

Dr Farah Jameel, from the GPC England executive committee, said the decision was ‘very disappointing’.

She said in an update to practices: ‘We wrote to NHS England to request the suspension of QOF until the end of March 2018 to ease pressure in general practice over the winter period.

‘This followed similar action taken by the Government in Wales. However, NHS England has now told us it will not suspend QOF at this time.

‘This is very disappointing and we have made our concerns about this matter clear. We will continue to push NHS England to understand the pressure practices are under and to do something material about it.’

An NHS England spokesperson said: ‘The proposal to suspend QOF would create a number of significant problems for practices. It would unfairly penalise those practices that have planned in this activity for the whole year and the net effect of a temporary suspension of QOF for a quarter would be to have no QOF in place for 2017/18, which would represent major contractual change – something the GPC previously asked us not to do.’