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Practices to focus on learning disabilities under QOF ‘quality improvement’

Next year practices will focus on improving care for patients with learning disabilities as part of the new ‘quality improvement’ modules that will account for a large number of QOF points, NHS England has announced.

NHS England outlined new plans in its board papers for seven new quality improvement module areas, which will also include cancer care, CVD, mental health, shared decision making, antibiotic prescribing and wider primary prevention.

The seven new modules, two of which will be implemented every year, will count for 37 points each and will be changed every year. 

NHS England have confirmed that the learning disabilities QI module will be implemented next year.

Under the plans, practices will also have to aim to deliver the 75% target for health checks for patients with learning disabilities and increase the number of flu vaccines given, due to the ‘level of avoidable mortality associated with respiratory problems’, according to the papers.

These seven ‘quality improvement’ QOF modules have been agreed for development between NHS England, the RCGP and the BMA GP Committee and are in the ‘initial pipeline’ as part of the QOF.

The new quality improvement domain –  counting for 74 points a year in total – is aimed to ‘provide support for contractors and their staff to recognise areas of care which require improvement’.

Back in April, two quality improvement modules focusing on prescribing safety and end-of-life care became part of QOF, each counting for 37 points.

The QOF guidance released as part of the contract this year said that for each module, practices can earn 27 points for showing ‘continuous quality improvement activity’ and ten points for participating in network meetings to ‘regularly share and discuss learning from quality improvement activity as specified in the QOF guidance.’

The recent board papers indicated its plans for the future.

They said: ‘Specifically on QOF, we today share our initial pipeline of planned quality improvement modules agreed with GPC and RCGP: (i) early cancer diagnosis,  (ii) CVD prevention and detection, (iii) supporting people with learning disabilities, (iv) shared decision making, (v) anxiety and depression, (vi) anti-microbial resistance including antibiotic prescribing, and (vii) wider primary prevention.’

A BMA spokesperson confirmed it had agreed the seven modules with NHS England and said the modules are still in development and are ‘subject to negotiation’. 

The RCGP also confirmed they were working on developing the modules but said it couldn’t comment any further.

NHS England also verified that in 2019 it will review the disease indicators for heart failure, asthma, and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) domains.

However, QOF expert Dr Gavin Jamie said he was expecting ‘tweaks more than fundamental changes’ to these reviews.

Additionally, in 2020, NHSE said it will review the mental health domain to add to QOF updates for the year 2021/22.

Earlier this year, NHSE announced there would be reforms to QOF to remove ’unnecessary indicators.’

In April, GPs were told they would need to participate in meetings with their networks as part of the new quality improvement indicator.