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QOF patient experience achievement declines sharply

By Lilian Anekwe

GP practices in England took a heavy hit to their mean achievement in the patient experience domain of the QOF, new NHS data shows.

The latest QOF achievement data from the NHS Information Centre showed that for English practice achievement in the financial year 2009/10, mean patient experience achievement fell to 71.5%, a drop of 12.7% from the level of 84.2% achieved in 2008/9.

The drop is thought to be largely due to the removal of QOF points from the indicators PE2 and PE6 in 2009/10, which reduced the number of points available by 55 points, and target set during the swine flu pandemic.

Average practice achievement in the 8,305 practices in England was 93.7% of all QOF points available, also down slightly from 95.4% - an average practice loss of over £2,000. Achievement in the clinical domain also fell from 97.8% in 2008/9 to 95.9% in 2009/10.

Scores were markedly lower in the newest indicators which were introduced in the last round of QOF negotiations.

DM23, the controversial diabetes indicator rewarding for ‘the percentage of patients with diabetes in whom the last HbA1c is seven or less in the previous 15 months', scored amongst the lowest of all clinical indicators, with only 83.5% of practices successfully achieving the threshold target for payment.

And for DEP03, practices achieved on average 64.4% of the points available. The indicator offers 20 points for ‘the percentage of patients who have had a further assessment of severity five to 12 weeks after the initial recording of the assessment of severity using an assessment tool validated for use in primary care.'

Achievement in the organisational and additional service domains were 96.3% and 95.3%, respectively.

Mean practice QOF achievement fell in 2009/10