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NICE agrees to merge coding for QOF smoking indicators after GPC’s duplication warning

NICE has agreed to merge the code clusters for two QOF smoking indicators after the GPC queried a glitch in current business rules that meant GPswere forced to enter data twice.

The GPC was informed that the business rules regarding smoking indicators Smoking6 and Smoking8 meant that GPs were having to enter a referral date for patients as well as the date that a pharmacological agent was delivered.

The GPC raised the issue with NICE, with the institute responding that the intention of the indicator was to get practices to offer support and treatment, with the emphasis on practices offering, and not on the patient accepting.

NICE has subsequently agreed to merge the two code clusters, so from April 2012 one code will cover both referral and treatment, and GPs will only need to enter one date.

Dr Beth McCarron-Nash, GPC negotiator, said: ‘Essentially what was going on was duplication. We've updated the guidance, tidied up he rules, so GPs don't have to duplicate the information.'

‘After everything else that's happened this year this will be welcomed, it'll save GPs a bit of time.'