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Third of GPs would support completely scrapping the QOF

Exclusive More than a third of GPs would support scrapping the QOF in its entirety, with some admitting they have already stopped chasing targets that are too much work from April.

Almost a fifth of GPs say that they have stopped doing QOF work that they used to do from April, after a massive hike in workload under the framework.

The Pulse survey of more than 800 GPs also reveals that the recently introduced depression and exercise indicators were the most unpopular indicators among the profession.

The findings come as GPC and NHS England move towards a negotiated deal that is expected to deliver health secretary Jeremy Hunt’s promise of a ‘dramatic simplification’ in targets exchanged for the introduction of ‘named clinician’ responsibility for GPs.

The survey of more than 800 GPs shows that although almost half of respondents - 47% - do not want to see the QOF go, a sizeable minority - 37% - were in favour of getting rid of it entirely.

Nearly a third of GPs said that they would like moves to rationalise the QOF to focus on the depression indicators - particularly biopsychosocial checks - while a further 20% said indicators incentivising the use of the GPPAQ questionnaire in hypertensive patients should go.

Smaller numbers of GPs also called for dementia, rheumatoid arthritis and the erectile dysfunction in diabetes indicators to be removed.

The results echo the findings of a NICE review into the areas of the QOF that could be pruned back, and a recent LMC survey.

Some 16% of GPs who responded to the question said they had already stopped doing parts of the QOF since new measures were imposed on GPs in April.

Nearly a quarter - a total of 22% - said they had stopped doing things that ‘did not pay enough’ or were ‘too much work’. One in 12 GPs - 8% said they had stopped trying to achieve depression screening targets and a further 8% said they had already stopped doing the GPPAQ. One GP said they had stopped doing QOF work altogether.

Comments from GPs included: ‘The QOF has become far too politically driven, lacks professional credibility and interferes with  consultations’ and ‘I only want things removed if our pay will increase. No removal with reduction in remuneration. Simplify all clinical areas’.