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QOF reforms ‘may have little effect’ on bureaucracy

The planned removal of 341 QOF points from the GP contract next year may have relatively little effect on GP bureaucracy and workload, a leading QOF analyst has warned.

The removal of the points, with 238 being put into the global sum and 103 going towards the new emergency admission DES, was hailed by the GPC and NHS England following the outcome of the 2014/15 contract negotiations, while a Pulse survey this week revealed 73% of GPs supported the removal of QOF points.

But Swindon GP Dr Gavin Jamie - who owns the QOF Database website – said GPs will have to do much of the same work, and the effect on bureaucracy will be ‘slight’.

Dr Jamie said: ‘There will be slightly less bureaucracy because patients won’t have to come in at specific times to do certain tests. But we are not going to stop treating things like thyroid disease so the overall effect could be fairly neutral.’

He criticised the decision to retain QOF points for simply keeping registers of patients with certain conditions, with no payments linked to actual treatment.

He said: ‘For epilepsy you will have QOF points for keeping a register but there is no indicator. There just doesn’t seem to be any point of keeping a register if there’s no activity around it.’

The GPC said last week that the QOF changes would free up GPs’ time because certain tasks - such as blood pressure monitoring for hypertension patients and indicators relating to keeping a hypothyroidism register and monitoring patients - are being retired.