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Northern Ireland GPs call for end to QOF

GPs in Northern Ireland have asked that the Government scraps the QOF to reduce bureaucracy.

GPC Northern Ireland chair Dr Tom Black said the country should follow the example of Scotland, where the Government has said it will abolish the QOF from 2017.

He said removing the ‘box-ticking’ exercise could free up GP time, with many of the clinical activities covered as part of core contractual duties anyway.

His comments come as the Department of Health, Social Services and Public Safety (DHSSPS) is in the process of setting up a working group to examine problems facing general practice.

Dr Black said: ’[The QOF] has become a box-ticking, bureaucratic exercise and removing it would allow GPs to spend more time on actual clinical care.’

In Scotland, GPs will stop doing the QOF with the new Scottish GP contract that is being developed for 2017/18, while Prime Minister David Cameron has announced that a new voluntary GP contract for England will get rid of QOF incentives.

The RCGP called for the QOF to be scrapped ahead the announcement of the ‘new deal’ for GPs, saying it was creating ‘unnecessary burdens’ and should be replaced with new funding arrangements.