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Practices to have QOF payments adjusted by as much as 2% due to IT errors

All GP practices in England will have their QOF payments recalculated following ‘incorrect data returns’ from an IT supplier.

An update from the Health and Social Care Information Centre (HSCIC) yesterday said all practices may face a change to end-of-year payments of around 2% because the EMIS Web system failed to report updated QOF data for the last day of the financial year.

A more precise sum was not available at time of publication, nor indications about whether practices will be receiving more or less than their estimates, but an NHS England error last year which underpaid year-end payments by 1.9% amounted to more than £2,000 in repayments for an average practice.

However, it is unlikely to be that high this time because the number of QOF points were reduced by 40% the 2014/15 contract.

EMIS has apologised for the error, and said ‘everything [was] being done to minimise inconvenience to practices’.

The HSCIC, who manage the Calculating Quality Reporting System (CQRS) which extracts QOF data, have said a new collection will take place for EMIS systems next week.

But it did not specify when the final payment would be made, with practices and NHS England area teams having to approve the new figure once it is calculated.

The problem has arisen because a lack of data from EMIS practices, who make up the majority of GP practices, means that national prevalence figures for 2014/15 are incorrect, and subsequently the QOF achievement for all practices – even those not on EMIS – is also wrong.

The HSCIC wrote: ‘EMIS has reported an issue with EMIS Web that has resulted in incorrect data returns for QOF being supplied to CQRS. The figures supplied do not include any data updated on EMIS Web on 31 March 2015.’

It added: ‘It is not possible to determine the exact scale of the impact but based on the data available it is expected to have altered payments between 0 – 2%.’

The HSCIC said that EMIS is applying a software fix to their system, while a ‘fresh EMIS collection will take place in the third week in April correcting all their data on CQRS’.

Once this is done, CQRS will recalculate QOF achievement for all practices and NHS England area teams can approve these figures for payment, with aspiration payments being automatically adjusted after the practice approves the payments, it said.

Dr Grant Ingrams, deputy chair of the GPC’s IT subcommittee told Pulse: ‘If you work in the NHS, you get used to people getting their figures wrong. It’s a bit sad that you get so blasé about these things.

‘To me [the delay] would be the most important thing, if it’s going to delay my payment I want interest on the delay.  

‘If they’ve got to wait for the other figures before they can finalise it, there might be a delay in that payment and that would be inappropriate, and I would be looking for recompense.’

An EMIS spokesperson said: ‘We are extremely sorry that this has happened, and would like to apologise to EMIS users for the delay in the availability of final QOF figures. We would like to reassure them that everything is being done to minimise inconvenience to practices.’