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GPC backs calls for simplified QOF

The GPC has backed calls from Northern Irish GPs for a revised version of the QOF that is simpler, more evidence-based and ‘patient-focussed’.

The call comes in a motion due to be voted on at the Northern Ireland LMCs conference this weekend, says the QOF had ‘delivered success in supporting raised clinical standards’, but increasingly promoted a ‘tick-box culture’ and should be revised.

The motion reads: ‘This Conference believes that the QOF, which has delivered success in supporting raised clinical standards, has increasingly become characterised by complex bureaucracy, which promotes a tick-box culture, to the detriment of patient-focussed care’

The second part of the motion ‘calls upon the Departments of Health to negotiate with GPC to achieve a revision, based on simplicity, clarity and evidence’.

The motion will be backed by Northern Ireland GPC chair Dr Tom Black, who told Pulse: ‘I think that QOF has become very complex and difficult and we need stability.’

Dr Black said other key issues at the meeting would be out-of-hours care, engagement with the executive’s NHS reforms, premises and capacity issues within primary care.

The conference will also vote on whether to pursue a Northern Ireland-only GP contract, or whether to continue to support UK-wide negotiations. A similar vote was rejected by the Scottish LMCs conference last month.

Dr Black said of the vote: ‘We will listen to conference and their views. Hopefully we can maintain a four-country contract where 80% to 90% is common to all four.’

Meanwhile, a more colourful motion on the agenda concerns plans to introduce annual health checks in Northern Ireland.

It reads: ‘That this Conference observes the flight of Cubans through shark infested waters to avoid their annual health check and calls on Northern Ireland politicians to consider the efficiencies that could be made by adopting the Cuban political system.’

But Dr Black said he had since had a ‘letter of agreement’ that ministers had ‘no plans’ to introduce the annual health checks.

Pulse Live: 30 April - 1 May, Birmingham

Look at this year’s QOF changes and how to meet them at Pulse Live. The meeting offers practical advice on key clinical and practice business topics, as well as an opportunity to debate the future of the profession, and a top range of speakers includes NICE chair Professor David Haslam, GPC deputy chair Dr Richard Vautrey and the Rt Hon Stephen Dorrell MP, chair of the House of Commons health committee.

To find out more and book your place, please click here.