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QOF guidance confirms almost half of points will be restored for 2020/21

The new QOF framework for 2020/21, published today, confirms that 257 out of 567 points will be restored, while 310 will continue to be protected.

A total of 257 points – 45% of the total points available this year – will be paid based on recorded practice performance, the document said.

These include the four flu indicators targeting patients with coronary heart disease, COPD, stroke and diabetes and the two cervical screening indicators, which will see the number of points attached to them doubled.

In the new guidance, NHS England said this is ‘to highlight the critical importance of restoring these services and the renewed focus upon flu vaccination as part of NHS England’s recovery plans’. 

Eight indicators relating to optimal prescribing of medicines for managing long-term conditions and those relating to the maintenance of disease registers will also be paid based on practice performance.

Meanwhile, the document confirmed that practices will also be expected to report on the requirements of the Quality Improvement (QI) domain, which have been amended to focus on ‘care delivery and restoration of services’.

NHS England said it had ‘revised’ its approach to QOF for 2020/21 to ‘reflect the impact of Covid-19 on general practice’. 

It added that it aims to ‘support the ongoing response to Covid-19 and the need to proactively target and support our most vulnerable patients during this period’.

It said: ‘As set out in our letter dated 9 July, we recognise that practices will need to reprioritise aspects of care not related to Covid-19 and have modified the QOF requirements for 2020/21 to support this and help release capacity in general practice to focus on Covid-19 recovery.’

However, it added that QOF will be reintroduced ‘fully’ from April 2021.

It said: Absent to national agreement to the contrary, QOF will be reintroduced fully from April 2021 and will include agreed changes set out in contract agreements ‘

A revised statement of financial entitlements – updated to reflect the new requirements and applicable to all QOF achievement calculations and payments for the financial year – will be available in autumn 2020, NHS England added.

It comes as GPs were told in July to ‘gear up for a major expansion of the winter flu programme’ as part of this year’s QOF.

GPs previously told Pulse they felt the changes first announced in July represented ‘extra work for the same money’. 

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