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Tory think tank calls for extra QOF in poor areas

By Gareth Iacobucci

An influential Conservative think tank has called for GPs in deprived areas to receive extra payments for diagnosing new patients with chronic illness – as part of a radical re-working of the QOF.

The report by the Bow Group, regarded as a key player in steering Tory party policy, focuses on how the QOF can be revamped to play a greater role in tackling health inequalities, one of the Tories' key pledges in their health manifesto.

It calls for an incentive structure to be attached to the QOF, which would award payments to GPs working in deprived areas for each new case they diagnose in hard-to-reach patients.

It even suggests ‘conditional payments' could be made to disadvantaged patients ‘to encourage compliance', but admits any such scheme would require careful piloting.

The report acknowledges GPs in inner-city areas ‘may feel they have to work much harder, and invest more practice resources, to perform well against outcome-based quality targets', and admits the current system creates perverse incentives not to identify disadvantaged patients.

But it says increased case-finding could be achieved by providing ‘direct payment to any GP practice for each new case that is diagnosed in targeted areas'.

The Bow group report focuses on how the QOF can be revamped The Bow group report focuses on how the QOF can be revamped