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GP practices will receive automatic payment for certain 2019/20 QOF targets



NHS England will assume practices have met certain care improvement targets in 2019/20 under the Quality Outcomes Framework payment system, to reduce workload for GPs during the coronavirus outbreak.

According to an email sent by NHS England and NHS Digital to GP practices last week, all practices taking part in QOF in 2019/20 will also be automatically enrolled for QOF for 2020/21 – and will not need to ‘declare’ their records as correct for 2019/20.

NHS England said it will automatically record practices as having achieved four targets relating to the two quality improvement domains covering prescribing and end-of-life care.

The two domains are worth 37 points each in the QOF for 2019/20 and would usually require practices to manually input the information.

In the email, sent jointly by NHS England and NHS Digital, it said GP practices have until 11pm tonight to alter their record, as after this point they will be assumed to have met the four targets.

It also said that CCGs will be expected to investigate any GP practice that is paid ‘significantly more or less’ as a result of the change in approach – and they will ‘adjust the payment where necessary’.

The NHS England and NHS Digital email said: ‘To ensure that QOF payments are processed as smoothly as possible during this period, changes are necessary to usual user functions and processes as staffing shortages and operational pressures mean that not all practices and commissioners will complete data entry, validation and participation activities within the required timeframes.’

It added: ‘CQRS will automatically populate the four manual indicators to “yes” for any GP practice who is yet to submit their manual indicators. A GP practice will be able to amend this in the system up to 11pm on Tuesday 31 March.’

Earlier this month NHS England confirmed all 2019/20 QOF payments will go ahead based on current calculations, but practices will receive a ‘one-off adjustment’ if they earn less than in 2018/19 as a result of Covid-19 activities.

It also said 2020/21 QOF money will be protected and based on previous performance.

The three major changes to QOF data input

There are three changes which will be made to the CQRS system at the request of NHS England and Improvement to ensure that GP practices get paid for QOF year end 2019/20 payments and are able to participate in the 2020/21 QOF service and receive aspiration payments. These changes, laid out in an email to practices last week, are:

1. Participation in QOF 2020/21

CQRS will offer and automatically accept this service to any GP practice which have not yet participated but who have participated in FY2019/20. If a GP practice subsequently does not want to participate you should contact your local commissioner who will be able to retract the offer.

2. Manual Indicators for QOF 2019/20

CQRS will automatically populate the four manual indicators to “yes” for any GP practice who is yet to submit their manual indicators. A GP practice will be able to amend this in the system up to 11pm on Tuesday 31 March. Any GP practice who is paid significantly more or less as a result of these manual indicators (taking into consideration factors such as list sizes and mergers) will be highlighted to their commissioner who we would expect to investigate and adjust the payment where necessary. This amended payment will be an off-system adjustment.

3. Auto-declaration and financial approval of payments

All achievement payments for QOF 19/20 will be automatically declared and approved within the CQRS system. GP practices will not be required to declare any achievement payments. Aspiration payments will be automatically financially approved as usual.

Source: Email sent to GP practices by NHS England and NHS Digital