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DH proposes over a quarter of QOF is retired

Exclusive GP practices will have over a quarter of the points in QOF removed, and the whole of the framework reduced by 139.5 points, under the proposed deal tabled by ministers.

The Department of Health proposes retiring all the indicators in the organisational domain except the quality and productivity indicators – such as those for medicines management and patient information – totalling 154.5 QOF points.

It also plans to accept all the proposed changes to QOF from NICE, including the retirement of a further 109 QOF points. This would mean practices have to cope with the removal of 26% of current points in the QOF.

The GPC told Pulse that some of the points will be returned to QOF by introducing new indicators, but overall the size of the framework will shrink by 14% under the DH’s plans.

This could cost the average practice a £18,659 per year, using the current £133.76 per point amount for 2012/13, although whether it will result in a net loss in income under QOF has yet to be confirmed by the DH.

The DH said the plans were designed to ‘focus on better care’ rather than reward practices for administrative tasks, but the BMA has said they are dangerous for patients.

Dr Laurence Buckman told Pulse: ‘The total number of QOF points is being reduced by 139.5, so there is less money in QOF overall.

‘They want us to accept all of the NICE proposals for QOF changes. Even the ones that are not safe for patients.

‘Even the NICE chairman says all NICE indicators cannot be reached because of workload. Despite all of this, the Government wants more and that little bit extra funding is, after taking expenses into account, still a pay cut. The key thing is the increase in workload. It is not sustainable.’

‘We had a deal where we had agreed on some changes to the QOF but with a limited impact on work. The time has come for GPs to say that we can’t do any more work. It doesn’t make me less knackered if you pay me more.’

A DH spokesperson said: ‘We don’t think practices should be rewarded for good organisation but for good clinical care, like reducing mortality rates and improving patients’ lives.’